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Dozens of Haitian immigrants drown off Turks and Caicos

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subsuelo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-30-09 12:34 PM
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Dozens of Haitian immigrants drown off Turks and Caicos
In the largest tragedy involving Haitian refugees at sea in several years, dozens of people remain missing after a boat on which they were traveling broke up on a reef near the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos.

By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 120 people had been rescued, but authorities reported finding 16 bodies and some 70 immigrants, who had not been accounted for, were presumed drowned.

...

The government of Turks and Caicos lost no time deporting the economic refugees back to Haiti; 60 were flown home Tuesday. The rest spent the night in a gym, on cots at another detention site, or in hospital.

The US Coast Guard has returned more than 1,600 undocumented immigrants to Haiti since October 2008, a 20 percent increase over the same period the year before. American authorities seized 124 Haitians aboard another overcrowded boat last week and brought them to Cap Haitien on Monday.

...

Some 28,000 Haitians in the US remain under the threat of deportation, pending action by the Department of Homeland Security.

Pro-Haitian and immigrant rights organizations in the US are pressing for the undocumented Haitians to be granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This is given to immigrants who are temporarily unable to return safely to their home countries because of war, natural disaster or other extreme circumstances.

The Obama administration inherited the brutal deportation policy from the government of George W. Bush, and, despite pressure from advocacy groups and local politicians, it has yet to budge on the TPS issue, even though its so far halted deportation for those affected. For now, the Haitian nationals in desperate need of some form of immigration relief remain in limbo.


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