FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Born in the Bahamas, Raised in the US, Deported to … Haiti?

As someone who writes about deportation, I hear and write about heartbreaking stories on a regular basis. Trust me, then, when I say that the deportation of people born in the Bahamas from the United States to Haiti is just about as bad as it gets.

Here’s the scenario. When Haitian citizens have children in the Bahamas, and they are in that country illegally, the children are Haitian citizens. If those children subsequently come to the United States and commit a minor or major criminal offense, they face deportation to Haiti.

There is a woman currently in immigration detention in Northern Florida. Seth Freed Wessler interviewed her, and he calls her Natalia, so I will do the same. Natalia was born in the Bahamas to a Haitian woman, which makes her a citizen of Haiti, even though she has never been to Haiti. When Natalia was two days old, her mother brought her to the United States. Fast forward twenty years. Natalia, now the mother of a newborn, is caught shoplifting with the father of her child. Her attorney advises her to plead guilty to get a lesser sentence. She does. However, now she faces deportation to Haiti. The United States is the only country Natalia has ever known. She does not speak Haitian Creole. Yet, she faces deportation to Haiti, a country still recovering from a massive earthquake, with political unrest, and a cholera outbreak.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a similar case. Patrick Escarment was born in the Bahamas to a Haitian woman. When he was four years old, she brought him to the United States. His mother died when Patrick was a young man, and he turned to selling cocaine during those tough times. He was convicted of selling cocaine, and sentenced to 18 months of probation. In January 2011, at the age of 21, he was deported to Haiti. Upon arrival, he was placed in a squalid holding cell covered with feces, urine, blood and vomit. One of the other deportees with whom he arrived, 34-year old Wildrick Guerrier, died of cholera-like symptoms two weeks after arriving in Haiti.

Deporting people born in the Bahamas and raised in the United States to Haiti for minor criminal offenses is a clear example of a punishment that does not fit the crime. Both Patrick and Natalia have children in the United States – children who will grow up without one of their parents. The suggestion that they take their children with them to Haiti is unrealistic, as they can barely survive in the country themselves. Both Patrick and Natalia were convicted of fairly minor crimes, and the punishment of exile from the only country they have ever known is exceedingly harsh. Moreover, they are being deported to Haiti, a country they know nothing about, have no ties to, and whose language they do not speak. That would be bad enough, but, to top things off, Haiti is still recovering from a massive earthquake and has a cholera epidemic.

TANYA GOLASH-BOZA is on the faculty at the University of Kansas. She blogs at: http://www.stopdeportationsnow.blogspot.com/

More articles by:

Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of: Yo Soy Negro Blackness in PeruImmigration Nation: Raids, Detentions and Deportations in Post-9/11 Americaand Due Process Denied: Detentions and Deportations in the United States. Her new book Deported: Immigrant Policing, Disposable Labor, and Global Capitalism will be published by NYU Press in 2015.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
December 10, 2019
Tony McKenna
The Demonization of Jeremy Corbyn
John Grant
American Culture Loves a Good Killer
Jacob Hornberger
Afghanistan: a Pentagon Paradise Built on Lies
Nick Licata
Was Trump Looking for Corruption or a Personal Favor?
Thomas M. Magstadt
What’s the Matter With America?
Brian Tokar
Climate Talks in Madrid: What Will It Take to Prevent Climate Collapse?
Ron Jacobs
Where Justice is a Game: Impeachment Hearings Redux
Jack Rasmus
Trump vs. Democracy
Walden Bello
Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics
Binoy Kampmark
A Troubled Family: NATO Turns 70
Brian Horejsi
Citizens Are Never Trusted
Michael Barker
Self-Defense in the Civil Rights Movement: the Lessons of Birmingham, 1963
John Feffer
Soldiers Who Fight War
Howie Wolke
Willingness to Compromise Puts Wilderness at Risk
December 09, 2019
Jefferson Morley
Trump’s Hand-Picked Prosecutor John Durham Cleared the CIA Once, Will He Again?
Kirkpatrick Sale
Political Collapse: The Center Cannot Hold
Ishmael Reed
Bloomberg Condoned Sexual Assault by NYPD 
W. T. Whitney
Hitting at Cuban Doctors and at Human Solidarity
Louisa Willcox
The Grizzly Cost of Coexistence
Thomas Knapp
Meet Virgil Griffith: America’s Newest Political Prisoner
John Feffer
How the New Right Went Global — and How to Stop It
Ralph Nader
Why Not Also Go With “The Kitchen Table” Impeachable Offenses for Removal?
Robert Fisk
Meet the Controversial Actor and Businessman Standing Up Against Egypt’s el-Sisi
M. K. Bhadrakumar
Sri Lanka Continues Its Delicate Dance With India
Dahr Jamail
Savoring What Remains: Dealing With Climate PTSD
George Wuerthner
Bison Slaughter in Yellowstone…Again
Scott Tucker
Premature Democratic Socialists: Reasons for Hope and Change
Julian Rose
Polish Minister of Health Proposes Carcinogenic 5G Emission Levels as National Norm
Dean Baker
Coal and the Regions Left Behind
Robert Koehler
Envisioning a United World
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail