Michelle Karshan and staff and participants of Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ in Haiti
 
ALTERNATIVE CHANCE/CHANS ALTENATIV
A self-help, advocacy program for criminal deportees in Haiti
 
 
Contact Us
Phone, fax, mail
 
 
Mission and Partners
Mission & Partners
 
 
Attorneys & Clients
Helpful info
 
 
Media Coverage
Articles, television, etc.
 
 
Brochure in plain format
Brochure
 
 
Annual Awards & Benefit Dinner
November 22, 2008 benefit
 
 
How You Can Help.
Your help is vital to our work.
 
 
June 2006 Note on Our Work
Background
 
 
Photos & Photo Credits
Photos of Alternative Chance and life in Haiti for criminal deportees
 
 
LINKS
Links for resources, analysis and legal resources
 
 
Job Readiness
Links to resources
 
 
Women Criminal Deportees in Haiti
International Women's Day and Women Criminal Deportees in Haiti
 
 
New life is no life for U.S. ex-cons in Haiti
Chicago Tribune article about criminal deportees in Haiti
 
 
Continue to Suspend Deportation to Haiti by Michelle Karshan
Sun Sentinel article by Michelle Karshan
 
 
Alternative Chance documents conditions and human rights concerns on behalf of criminal deportees in 2009 in letter to UNHCR
Alternative Chance list of concerns re conditions of criminal deportees in Haiti. Addressed to UNHCR in 2009
 
 
Being Deported to Post Earthquake Haiti by Michelle Karshan, Alternative Chance
Alternative Chance warns of life threatening conditions and death by cholera if people are deported to Haiti
 
 

Continue to Suspend Deportation to Haiti by Michelle Karshan

Continue to suspend deportation to Haiti
by Michelle Karshan

Sun Sentinel, January 19, 2011


Following Haiti's earthquake, the United States made a fine humanitarian gesture when it temporarily suspended deportations to Haiti. When it revealed last month that it would resume criminal deportations to Haiti, it begged the question — why now?

Conditions have not significantly changed since Washington saw fit to suspend deportations. In fact, some have worsened. Haiti has seen more tragedy with a subsequent hurricane, flooding and deadly cholera epidemic. With barely half of pledged monies reaching Haiti, former President Bill Clinton, who co-chairs Haiti's Interim Reconstruction Commission, admitted that the recovery has been slow. President Barack Obama even opined this week that "too much rubble continues to clog the streets, too many people are still living in tents, and for so many Haitians progress has not come fast enough."

Last month, the United States issued three detailed travel advisories enumerating life-threatening security and health conditions in Haiti and advised Americans to bring their own cholera prevention and treatment supplies with them if they must travel there. And the World Health Organization announced that the cholera epidemic has not yet peaked.

Haiti's government has been in a political quagmire since the November presidential elections. Street violence followed, together with demands for the removal of Haiti's president, and a call for an interim government to be put in place.

During fragile moments in Haiti's political life, deportations seem to escalate. After President Jean-Betrand Aristide was forced out in 2004, a U.S.-backed interim government was granted its request that the United States suspend criminal deportations.

By contrast, immediately following President Rene Preval's inauguration in 2006, the United States resumed criminal deportations before a prime minister and government were even in place. Taking its cue from the United States, the Dominican Republic stepped up its deportations to Haiti, forcing 900 Haitians to Haiti recently. The onslaught of deportees from both directions strains Haiti's government and NGOs alike.

The United States says it has its own security concerns and doesn't want to be obliged by law to release dangerous criminals into our communities. However, the 100-plus Haitians recently arrested and queued up to mount U.S. marshal flights to Haiti were already at liberty in our communities, living with their families, and reporting in regularly to deportation officers. Most are legal, permanent residents, many are married to U.S. citizens, have U.S. citizen children, jobs, and many are not violent offenders.

Haiti imprisons criminal deportees when they arrive. They face life-threatening, illegal and inhumane detention conditions. Cholera has already killed more than 58 detainees and sickened 405 prisoners. President Obama said recently that "the people of Haiti will continue to have an enduring partner in the United States." Our government needs to match words with deeds by continuing the suspension of all deportations to Haiti.

Michelle Karshan is executive director of Alternative Chance, a self-help, peer counseling, advocacy program for criminal deportees in Haiti founded in 1996.

Text-only version of this page  |  Edit this page  |  Manage website  |  Website design: 2-minute-website.com