TransAfrica and Ashcroft's special treatment of Haitians

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TransAfrica and Ashcroft's special treatment of Haitians

Post by admin » Thu Jul 17, 2003 5:47 pm

From: Valerie Menos <>

July 16, 2003

On every level, ranging from interdiction at sea, to expedited deportation, current U.S. policy unfairly discriminates against Haitians asylum seekers and asylees. TransAfrica Forum's Haiti Initiative, One Standard!, is aimed at examining and challenging this U.S. policy to assure just and equal treatment for Haitians.

I am writing to invite you to join in our efforts to examine and develop a strategy challenge U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians. This meeting will be held at the TransAfrica Forum Building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 24, 2003 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Each year war, famine, and civil and political unrest displace millions of people around the world. Some fearing death and/or torture are forced to escape their countries. T
he United States considers such persons for admission into this country as refugees of special humanitarian concern. The U.S. policy toward refugees has proven to be an effective tool that gives certain asylum seekers a place of refuge. But not Haitians.

On April 17, 2003, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft overruled a Board of Immigration Appeals decision and ruled that immigrants can be jailed indefinitely without bond when a potential national security risk exists. In the opinion, directed at a case involving a Haitian asylee, Ashcroft reasoned that such detention would (1) deter mass migrations by sea; (2)prohibit terrorists from using Haiti as a staging point to enter the United States; and (3) free up U.S. Coast Guard ("U.S.C.G.") capacity and capabilities now focused on interdicting Haitians at sea. The ruling means that Haitians, and indeed broad categories of migrants, can be jailed without hearings and without the option of being released on bond. This recent decision is one of a long list o
f discriminatory policies, (including policies regarding the application process, detention, release on bond, access to attorneys, and due process). It is our hope that this meeting will launch the development of a multi-level strategy to change U.S. policy towards Haitians.

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please call Valerie Menos at 202-223-1960, extension 134, respectively. If you need to call in via conference call, the call in number is 1-858-300-3030 and the participant access code is 13579.

Valerie M. Menos
Haitian Issues/Haiti Project
TransAfrica Forum
1426 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
phone: 202-223-1960
cell: 973-723-3045
fax: 202-223-1966

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