Some very troubling news has come out of Haiti. The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center has released a statement detailing the death of a recently deported Haitian immigrant.
Our worst fears were confirmed. When LIRS learned that deportations of Haitian immigrants in detention would resume in 2011, we knew that many would be sent into inhumane and dangerous conditions. Now we learn that one of those deportees, Wildrick Guerrier, who had been in the United States since 1993, has died after contracting cholera in a Haitian jail.
Below is part of the release. Click here for the full release.
A deported man has died following his detention in a Haitian jail. Wildrick Guerrier, 34, was among the 27 Haitians deported on Jan. 20 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the midst of the country’s massive cholera epidemic.
While in jail in Haiti, Guerrier suffered from cholera-like symptoms, including extreme vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea. He died shortly thereafter. Advocates in Haiti and detainee relatives also have informed us that at least one other detainee is suffering similar symptoms.
Claudine Magloire, Guerrier’s fiancé and U.S. permanent resident, is outraged. “The U.S. government has caused my fiancé to die,” she said. The deportations to Haiti need to stop.”
Guerrier came to the United States as a teenager in 1993 and was a lawful permanent resident. He had been living with his mother, helped raise two younger brothers, and was a father figure to his fiancé’s son. He also worked at his car detailing business. Guerrier was completing a criminal sentence of 18 months when transferred to ICE detention. An immigration judge had ordered him deported on Nov. 9, 2010.
He and the other deportees were jailed upon arrival in Haiti under a longstanding policy of the Haitian government to detain deportees with U.S. criminal records. Haiti’s jails are notorious for what one U.S. Court of Appeals described as “slave-ship” conditions. These were the first U.S. deportations to Haiti since the catastrophic earthquake of January 2010. Advocates and community groups have protested that it remains too dangerous to send anyone to Haiti given its cholera epidemic, civil unrest, and lack of infrastructure.
In a meeting last week with Department of Homeland Security officials in Washington, D.C., last Friday, Cheryl Little, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC), and other advocates stressed grave concern that Haitian deportees would face death upon their return.
“This is death by deportation,” Little said. “To continue sending deportees to Haiti only invites more deaths and suffering. A criminal record should not be a death sentence for Haitians. Sadly, Guerrier’s family now mourns his loss.”
“Our worst nightmare has come to pass,” said Rebecca Sharpless, Professor at the University of Miami School of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic. “Wildrick Guerrier has paid the ultimate price for our country’s unconscionable policy. We can only hope that the White House will now come to its senses and halt the deportations.”