WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke expressed her concern over the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to resume deportation of undocumented Haitians at a time when all vitals show a worsening climate.
In a statement released Tuesday, the Democratic Congresswoman from New York, representing much of Central Brooklyn, noted the impact of natural disasters over the past decade, not to mention the 2010 earthquake. Clarke also joined growing number of political actors and observers who disagree with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s assessment that the situation in Haiti has improved.
Since the earthquake of 2010 which killed approximately 250,000, Haiti’s troubles have been compounded by a cholera outbreak that has killed 10,000 and sickened millions. A bipartisan group of representatives over the summer criticized the State department for its passive role in allowing the United Nations to evade responsibility for the introduction of the disease. The UN admitted to its role after the letter signed by 158 members of congress went public.
As well, Haiti’s economic and political stability is in exceptional crisis. This was not lost in Congresswoman Clarke’s statement. It reads:
“I am deeply concerned by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) recent decision to resume the deportation of undocumented Haitian immigrants. As we are all too aware, over the past decade, Haiti has unfortunately been severely impacted by natural disasters and political instability which contributed to its status as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and caused extreme hardship in the lives of her people. Although Haitian infrastructure has improved somewhat since the deadly 2010 earthquake, the country has been contending with a cholera outbreak that has afflicted more than 750,000 people and killed more than 9,000 of women, men, and children. Given this public health crisis and the current economic and political instability in Haiti, we have a responsibility to our Caribbean sisters and brothers to act with compassion, which includes providing for Haitians already present in the United States. I am particularly concerned about the timing of this DHS action, which occurs just a few weeks ahead of Haiti’s upcoming elections. I continue to monitor this situation closely and work with my fellow Members of Congress to address this critical humanitarian issue.”