ICE resumes deportations of Haitians

December 16, 2010

In response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) stayed deportations of people with criminal convictions.   On December 9, ICE lifted that ban.   According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, 89 Haitian nationals were arrested and detained last week.  ICE officials claim the deportations will begin in January.   

The Center for Constitutional Rights has joined forces with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, and Alternative Chance, to denounce ICE’s decision to deport Haitian nationals during the current conditions in Haiti, which include a cholera outbreak.  The International Red Cross claimed that the epidemic has reached Haitian jails, and that at least 10 people had died from cholera as of November 29, 2010.   

According to the civil rights groups, “Sending Haitian nationals to be detained in facilities deemed deplorable before the earthquake where exposure to cholera could lead to death is a violation of the U.S. government’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).”    The Convention Against Torture prohibits the United States from deporting someone when it can be shown that "more likely than not that he or she would be tortured if removed to the proposed country of removal." 8 CFR 1208.16

Has exposure to a life-threatening disease ever been considered torture under CAT?  You could plug 8 CFR 1208.16 into Lexis or Westlaw and check the citations from courts and administrative agencies.  You might want to take a look at this book on Defining Torture.  You can always use a periodicals index to narrow the focus of your periodicals search to just articles dealing with the Convention against Torture, and then narrowing your search to articles that include definitions, or articles that mention disease. 

        -Ryan Harrington



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