- Leoman Lima – ioliomanlima
- BBC World News
Paul Pierrelus woke up on Wednesday for the first time in a place where he had never been, where he did not speak the language, where no one knew … and where he was deported: Haiti.
The 40-year-old, who worked as a financial adviser in New York, was deported last Tuesday along with hundreds of other Haitians to a country where he is not a citizen, his lawyers and his family said.
Pierrelos emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five, never leaving the country for an unusual reason: he was, according to his security, unstable.
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“He’s the son of Haitian parents, but he was born on the French island of Saint-Martin. In these cases, neither the French government nor the Haitian government automatically granted him citizenship. .
The birth certificate in the name of Paul Pierrelus had access to BBC Mundo, confirming that he was born in the French part of the island of Saint-Martin (which France shares with the Netherlands).
Under the current Haitian constitution, any child of Haitian parents has the right to a Haitian nationality, regardless of his or her place of birth.
However, according to the lawyer, Pierrelus’ parents did not register him at a Haitian embassy, so he was not technically a Haitian citizen.
The long night that culminated in his expulsion was the third and final attempt at a torture process that lasted nearly two decades.
What happened at this time remains a mystery: On Monday evening, immigration officials showed up at Pierrelos’ home and told him to collect his belongings as he was being “fired”.
“Then he called us on the phone and we tried to ask where they were taking us, but they refused to give us this information,” explains BBC Mundo Curline, director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance. .
“The only way we found out he was kicked out was because we were on the phone with him. This is how they treat people. If we could not talk to each other on the phone, Paul would be missing,” she adds.
A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Agency confirmed to BBC Mundo that Paul had “transferred Haitian nationals to his home country”.
Lawyers and family are challenging the granting of citizenship and origin by U.S. authorities.
“We have his birth certificate and communications from the Haitian embassy, which proves that Paul is not a Haitian citizen and that Haiti never recognized him,” Phillips explains.
The last flights
Recent events that have led to the eruption of Pierlaus In the frenzy of the Donald Trump administration, prosecutors say undocumented immigrants should be deported as much as possible before leaving the White House.
With undocumented labor groups changing the government and a possible change in immigration policies, the ICE hastened procedures and measures to increase Trump’s deportation in his final days.
In 2020 alone, the agency carried out more than 1,000 deportation thefts, of which more than 100 took place in December (the latest figures are available), according to data from an NGO at the border.
According to the agency, Pierrelus entered the country in 1985 as a “non-resident visitor”, but he stayed after his visa expired. A border patrol “first met him in October 2002 and deported him before an immigration judge.
According to his lawyers, during those years, minors could enter the country under their parents’ passports and with birth certificates and visas (minorities did not need a passport, which facilitated their entry).
“We understand he entered the United States as a young child on his parents’ passport, he does not have a passport,” says Phillips.
As a teenager, Pierre was arrested for drug trafficking, and after serving six months in prison, a judge ruled he could be deported for violating U.S. laws, failing to appeal the decision.
“Pierrelus was convicted of drug trafficking in 2003, and an immigration judge ordered his deportation from the United States on June 1, 2004,” the ICE report said.
Phillips says he could not be deported at the time because St. Martino Haitio refused to send him to their area and his instability was proven.
The third time is good
Unbeknownst to him earlier this year, Pierrulis’ fate was about to change as it appeared to be another regular visit to the Immigration Prevention Center, as he has done from time to time over the past 20 years. Last years.
“On January 11, Paul went to a meeting with immigration officials and had to report every month after his arrest to get his work permit and residence permit. He was arrested for no apparent reason,” he said. Attorney.
Following the arrest, Joseph recalled that authorities planned to deport him on January 19, one of the last flights of the Trump administration.
“But thanks to our efforts, Deputy Montreal Jones and the Haitian Embassy, we were able to get him off the plane at the last minute,” he said.
This is a comforting moment for Pierre and his lawyers: President Joe Biden, who during his campaign promised a 100-day ban on return flights a day later, is investing.
That’s what he did.
But a Texas judge blocked an executive order last week, giving the ICE the green light to restart flights.
“According to the judge’s order, the ICE has its choice in deciding who or when to deport. This is why the agency’s choice to deport a black man is shocking. It is unstable and a citizen of a country without travel documents, whose language he will not speak, anyone He did not know, he never did, and we believe it is illegal and against international policy, “said Phillips.
For Pierrelos’ lawyers and family members, the big question in this case is how Washington and Port-Prince can justify the deportation, as Haitian officials have previously confirmed that the man is not a citizen of this country, so they could not get him.
In a statement to the BBC Mundo, the ICE said it had sought Haiti’s permission to deport Pierrelas in early January, five days before meeting with immigration officials.
“On January 5, the ICE sought and received the approval of the Haitian government to deport Paul Pierre, a native of Haiti.
We do not know under what argument or under what conditions the Haitian government agreed to acquire Pierce.
The BBC contacted the Haitian Foreign Ministry and its embassy in Washington, D.C., but did not immediately respond.
However, on January 19, 12 days after the ICI reportedly received approval from Port-au-Prince and US ambassador to Haiti, Pocheit Edmund, Pierrellis publicly confirmed that he did not own the Haitian country and therefore could not be expelled there.
The ambassador also tweeted that his office had made “several interventions” to get off the plane that wanted to take him to Haiti that day.
“We will continue to cooperate with competent U.S. officials, but within the bounds of established policies. Mr. Pierrelus is not a Haitian citizen and therefore cannot be sent to Haiti,” he wrote.
The BBC contacted Mundo IC to find out on what basis Pierce expelled Pierce from the nation and what evidence the agency had to confirm that he was in fact a Haitian citizen, but did not receive an answer.
“The big question we all ask ourselves is, how did it happen, and how did Haiti agree to have someone who was expelled become its citizen. Is this an error or an unforgivable complicity with ICE?” Whatever the answer, a man’s life is in danger right now, “says Phillips.
According to the prosecutor, when he arrived in Haiti, Pierrelus discovered an empty city besieged by military vehicles.
Haiti is currently experiencing a tense political situation that has led to a number of protests in recent weeks demanding the resignation of current President Joanel Moss.
This country, which is poor in the Western Hemisphere, is plagued by corona virus infection and does not have adequate resources or hospitals for it.
“They were illegally sent to a state in a country with a worrying political, social and epidemiological situation where the US government itself advises its citizens not to travel. This is a real shame,” Phillips said.