Haitian charge: Not the best time for repatriation

As Haiti continues to experience violent protests, Haitian Charge d’Affaires Dorval Darlier said yesterday the government should consider halting the repatriation of migrants “because of the political situation.”

The streets of Haiti have been plagued with massive protests demanding the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise as his administration faces corruption allegations.

“That’s the reason I think this is not the best time right now,” Darlier told The Nassau Guardian.

“What I’m going to do is I’m going to sit with the government to see the best they can assist Haiti in that way…If you are illegal, I cannot tell the Bahamian immigration department [not to] do their job.” Darlier noted that he could not force the government to stop its repatriations.

“I’m not going to tell them what to do,” he said.

“No, this is not my country. I am not going to force them. I’m not going to tell them what to do. It’s up to the government.”

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the government had announced that the repatriation of storm victims who are undocumented migrants was on hold.

However, last week, Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson said the government intends to enforce the immigration laws. He said if there are undocumented migrants in shelters, they, too, would be repatriated.

The government has faced backlash for this.

On Thursday, several U.S.-based non-profit organizations called for the Bahamian government to place a moratorium on the deportation of Haitians affected by Dorian – the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.

Yesterday, the Miami Herald’s editorial board released an article where it called on the Bahamian government to “not deport Haitians to a dysfunctional country.”

“…This is the worst time for the country to resume its iron-clad immigration policy of deporting Haitians who have been living in the Bahamas illegally,” it wrote.

The editorial board added, “Deportations, no doubt, will resume. However, it is particularly cruel to do so at this time. This is the same argument that the editorial board has made in recommending that the United States continue to extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitians who fled here after the 2010 earthquake.”

It called on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to “show the same compassion he did immediately after the storm and not be swayed by politics.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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