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
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail