By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, Providence, Rhode Island, Tues. April 6, 2021: Rhode Island’s Haitian American leaders want the Joe Biden administration to stop deporting undocumented immigrants to Haiti.
The call comes as kidnappings, gang violence, and political turmoil has become the order of the day in Haiti currently. On April 1st, a pastor and two church members were kidnapped at gunpoint during a Facebook live service.
“Haiti is going through a human rights and political crisis,” Bernard Georges, founder and executive director of New Bridges for Haitian Success, based in Providence was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying. “There has been a huge increase in violence, killing, kidnapping, rape, and oppression.”
He said undocumented Haitians in Rhode Island are worried that a knock on the door will thrust them back into a world of chaos and danger. “They are living in fear. Some are just staying in the basement. They are hiding. Even those with sick children don’t want to go out,” Georges told the paper. “We are calling on the Biden administration to stop deportations to Haiti immediately.”
Providence City Councilwoman Nirva R. LaFortune, the first Haitian American to hold elected office in Rhode Island, told the Globe she was 3 years old when her parents fled Haiti because of the oppression and corruption of former president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s regime.
“My parents left Haiti during political turmoil, and we are seeing it occurring again now,” she said. “By deporting people during these times, you are sending people into danger.”
“No one wants to leave their home country,” LaFortune added. “It’s because of fear. They are giving up everything. People take on these dangerous journeys to seek freedom, to seek safety, to seek a better opportunity for themselves and their families.”
Pastor Miche Desvalon, of the Ebenezer Nazarene Church in Pawtucket, said Haitian-Americans in Rhode Island are concerned about the deportations because of the conditions in Haiti.
“It is very unsafe to be there right now, especially for kids,” he was quoted as saying. “There is kidnapping, insecurity. There is no justice right now. It is chaos.”
The US under the Joe Biden United States has deported or expelled more than 2,000 Haitians – including hundreds of children – since Feb. 1.