Miami, FL – In response to the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to deport Haitians on Tuesday, April 7, Congresswoman Wilson led a letter to Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf urging him to reverse this decision.
“Like many of the countries to which migrants are being repatriated, Haiti lacks the public health infrastructure to prevent the spread of the virus or to treat a large number of infected people. Haiti has struggled to rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake and other disasters, including a cholera epidemic,” the letter reads. “Many citizens still lack access to the most basic medical care, potable water, and soap for handwashing. It is unconscionable to repatriate migrants who may be unwitting carriers of the virus into such an environment.”
During an early press conference on the virus, President Trump said undocumented immigrants could get tested for coronavirus without fear of deportation.
Continuing to deport migrants to Haiti would have implications for the U.S., as well, because Haiti’s health-care system is so drastically compromised, and it does not have the infrastructure in place to care for even a dozen coronavirus patients. If an outbreak occurs in Haiti, the United States may be forced to financially intercede and care for the people of Haiti because a pandemic will be too overwhelming for the island nation to conquer.
The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly deporting detainees without first testing them for COVID-19.
“ICE needs to allow these detainees to shelter in place. That’s what the president promised. It is creating a very dangerous situation for the airports, the Caribbean, and ICE itself. It’s another mechanism to spread the virus across the world,” said Congresswoman Wilson.
To read the full letter, click here.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a fifth-term lawmaker from Florida, representing parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties. A former state legislator and school principal, she is the founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a mentoring and dropout prevention program for boys and young men of color. Congresswoman Wilson also is the founder and chair of the Florida Ports Caucus, a bipartisan taskforce that coordinates federal action to support Florida’s harbors and waterways. The Florida lawmaker sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and chairs the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.