U.S. Deportation Frenzy, Haitian Edition

President Obama is on pace to deport more illegal immigrants in his first term than George W. Bush did in two. The current administration isn’t opposed to deporting legal permanent residents either, at least when it comes to the Haitian-born variety.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

[Wilberle] Vereus was only 2 years old when his family fled Haiti on a boat following the 1991 coup d’état of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But after a U.S. immigration judge sent him to Haiti this year, Vereus found himself back where he was born, in a country he barely knew.

But he is not alone. Since January, the United States has deported more than 250 Haitians knowing that one in two will be jailed without charges in facilities so filthy they pose life-threatening health risks. In recent years, immigration officials have stepped up deportations of legal immigrants like Vereus because of criminal convictions.

Due to a Supreme Court decision, detainees facing deportation can only be held for up to 180 days before being released back into American society. So U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) often opts to deport rather than release. The Chronicle reports that an ICE spokeswoman claimed the agency would “prioritize [deportations for] those who pose the greatest threat to the community.”

What egregious crime did Vereus commit to warrant deportation? While in high school, he and a friend stole some iPods from a group of teenagers, for which he served a three-year sentence.

The Chronicle also notes that ICE hasn’t just been deporting Haitians convicted of crimes in recent years:

A review of federal data shows ICE deported at least 2,684 non-criminal immigrants to Haiti from 2007 to 2010. As recently as 2008, 74 percent of all Haitian deportees did not have criminal convictions, according to the data. In the three months leading up to Haiti’s earthquake, 67 percent of deportees were non-criminals.

Read Jacob Sullum on how rigid deportation rules make a mockery of justice, as well as other Reason coverage of U.S. deportation frenzy.

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  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If we have an immigration policy, shouldn't we be deporting people who commit serious crimes? IMO, theft is a serious crime, and we should be under no obligation to keep people around who commit said crimes.

  • RoboCain||

    Then we aren't any obligation to keep around teenage white girls stole some iPods.

  • Bünzli||

    "Then we aren't any obligation to keep around teenage white girls stole some iPods."

    You are if they're US citizens.
    Though a point can be made that somebody who came to the US that young and has lived there that long should get citizenship at some point.

    While i sympathize with the dude, who had to leave the only home he's ever known, i see nothing wrong in principle with deporting criminal foreigners.

  • ||

    It wasn't theft, it was armed robbery. RTFA.

  • RoboCain||

    "shooting a BB gun at them"

    Sounds like bone thug, who probably practices voodoo and keeps chickens, am I right?

  • ||

    It's the snowball thing all over again, isn't it?

    But this time your dismissals of the danger are even less valid.

  • R||

    You realize BB guns can seriously wound or even kill people, right? They aren't toys.

  • jtuf||

    The Dems lost Florida in 2000 after deporting Elian Gonzalez to Cuba. Obama probably figures he can demand a recount if fewer than 95% of minorities vote for him in 2012.

  • ||

    While in high school, he and a friend stole some iPods from a group of teenagers, for which he served a three-year sentence.

    I am Jack's suspicious lack of details. Dollars to donuts this was a violent robbery but Reason's intern of the month realizes mentioning that detail doesn't help the cause.

  • ||

    Fuck, I should be an insurance investigator with my sense for bullshit. From the linked article:

    Vereus had a typical American childhood, attending school and playing sports. But at the beginning of his senior year at Inglewood High School, he and a friend stole iPods from a group of teenagers near South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, shooting a BB gun at them as they walked off.

    And I'm sure the writer of the SFGate article is sugar-coating things with the "as they walked off" qualifier, too.

  • ||

    The Chronicle also notes that ICE hasn’t just been deporting Haitians convicted of crimes in recent years:

    See, I'm on to the game you guys play with these stories.

    First you give an example of a permanent resident who was deported for committing armed robbery (though you try to avoid mentioning the true nature of the crime).

    Then you say people who were not convicted of crimes were deported, without mentioning the fact that they weren't permanent residents.

    The weak-minded come away thinking that permanent residents were deported without committing a crime. A job well done for Reason.

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

    See, I'm on to the game you guys play with these stories.

    Reading an immigration article in Reason is like working a word search puzzle. You know the lies and obfuscations are in there, the only question is whether or not you want to be bothered with taking precious time out of your day finding them.

  • MWG||

    Sounds like the A3P website in general.

  • asdd||

    would u feel differently if u found out he had a sealed juvenile record? do u think turning 18 suddenly made him wanna rob and shoot people? 11 yrs of public school at $80,000 + 3 yrs of prison at $60,000 = $140k. at 20yrs residency, that's $7k/a year. with no diploma and a record, could his lifetime tax payments have even approached just these 1st 20yrs of expenditures? if we paid for his housing, food and education, all of higher quality than he could've gotten in haiti, and the ROI is increased violence, how can this be viewed as anything other than an immense, irrational sloth and violence subsidy? wouldn't it be faster and cheaper to just go to haiti and give each person $100k NOT to come here?

  • ||

    Yeah, color me not sympathetic to someone who steals multiple people's iPods and then gets deported.

    Enjoy your mudcakes, jerk off.

  • Amakudari||

    Firing a BB gun at them was a nice touch, too.

    Is it really too much to ask as a precondition of residency that an immigrant doesn't commit violent felonies?

  • asd||

    Reason and "mainstream libertarians" in general are so afraid of seeming racist that they'll take a position solely because of how un-racist it will make them look. They're still paying the price for the old-timey Rothbard/Rockwell redneck outreach/racial pandering era. If this story is so tragic, isn't the non-deportation of >62 million immigrants since '65 a countervailing humanitarian triumph warranting daily celebration? Why aren't there constantly "good news" stories about how easy it is for immigrants to live here indefinitely regardless of legal status? Or about the changing racial demographics Pat Buchanan is writing fear-monger screeds about? Or the shift from old-world to 3rd world-derived immigration? Was this really the most sympathetic story they could find about the "plight" of immigrants in America? The last immigration story I recall them running was about those 2nd gen college students threatened with deportation. I feel like they just realized it'd been a few wks since their last immigrant plight reminder and they went with the rosiest picture they could find.

  • ||

    Mr. Watkins, what SCt decision are you referring to? I work with detainees regularly and it is not uncommon for people to wait more than a year awaiting removal. I'm not saying you're wrong, just maybe that you made an overly broad statement (or weren't specific enough.

    I'm also really confused about some of the angry comments on how these aren't sad stories and that we should be celebrating these deportations. If you all met these people, I think you'd feel a lot different. Just recently, I worked with a kid (18 y/o) who was brought here when he was only a few days old. He and some friends broke into a building a few years back, and now he is being sent to his native country, where he knows NO ONE and has NO FAMILY (they are all here). This kind of situation is not at all out of the ordinary. I've only been doing this a very short time and the amount of people deported and separated from their US citizen children is heartbreaking. People get picked up on stupid shit like driving without a license and they get sent to their native country and their kids get put into foster care. I guess I'm going to have to quote Rick Perry and assume that a lot of you just don't have a heart.

  • ||

    Just wanted to add, at least this kid had learned his native language from his parents. It is not uncommon to see people deported to countries where they don't speak the language (they only speak English).

  • ||

    Driving without a license isn't "stupid shit".

    now he is being sent to his native country, where he knows NO ONE and has NO FAMILY (they are all here)

    OK, deport his parents and siblings too so that he has company.

    Like many bleeding-heart types, you seem long on complaints and short on solutions.

  • ||

    I guess I'm going to have to quote Rick Perry and assume that a lot of you just don't have a heart.

    And I'll quote Aristotle on law being reason free from passion.

  • Amakudari||

    Look, again, I have a heart. I'm mostly open borders, as long as the person demonstrates prior to entry a commitment to American values (e.g. freedom of expression, freedom of religion and other civil rights) and does not commit violent crimes or demand a life on welfare. It breaks my heart to see people deported for bullshit, and I want people to have a real opportunity to live in a free country. I have to deal with citizenship issues for both my wife and myself, and the rules are far too strict for upstanding citizens.

    But which countries allow permanent residents to stick around after committing armed robbery? And this happened just after he turned 18. Do you want to take bets on whether he has a juvenile record?

    The rules he broke weren't even hard to play by. Don't steal and then shoot at people

  • johnl||

    A moocher stole (snuck off with) a few ipods and a couple weeks of lunch money from me, and I have to restrain myself not to use him as bait for deep sea fishing. Giving armed robbers one way tickets just isn't a libertarian issue.

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