FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2020
Contact: Steve Forester, email@example.com, 786-877-6999
or FANM Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 305-756-8050
A recording of the press conference is available here.
Password to access recording: 4L+.x4*5
FANM Urged ICE To Halt the Deportation Of Mass Murderer Emmanuel “Toto” Constant And COVID-19 Positive Detainees To Haiti On Tuesday, May 26th 2020.
The flight manifest for ICE’s Tuesday, May 26th deportation flight from Brownsville, Texas to Haiti includes 78 names, among them notorious former death squad leader and U.S. criminal Emmanuel “Toto” Constant. Emmanuel “Toto” Constant has been linked to the murders of at least 3,000 people in Haiti. He has not served his full 37 year sentence in the United States and his presence in Haiti now would be highly destabilizing. In addition, at least nine of the 78 scheduled deportees recently tested positive for coronavirus. Their presence risks turning the flight into a vector for coronavirus transmission among the other passengers, crew, and in Haiti itself. Family Action Network Movement (FANM) and other community leaders urged The Trump Administration to put a moratorium on deportations to Haiti and all other nations.
Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM), stated, “The deportation of Emmanuel “Toto” Constant to Haiti endangers the entire country. Constant is a renowned human rights violator and his return during this time of crisis would cause even more political upheaval and chaos in Haiti. Deporting him and the nine sick detainees sets a dangerous precedent and the repercussions are irreparable.”
Daniella Levine Cava, County Commissioner District 8, stated, “ I am outraged once again. I am outraged and ashamed of the practices of detaining people in inhumane conditions during a pandemic. I am outraged that it was delayed so long at the federal level to offer testing. Release is really what's needed. These are not people who have committed crimes. All of that is shameful. It is shameful to create the risk of disease spread not only to those who are together in detention but also to the employees who then carry it home to their families and loved ones promoting community spread. This is a totally irresponsible lack of action and denial on the part of ICE when it comes to the COVID pandemic for those that are in their custody and that I decry.”
Marie Paule Woodson, FANM Board Chair, stated, “We have seen how much this pandemic is ravaging the United States, who is one of the greatest nations on Earth. Just think of Haiti, where you don't have a healthcare system that works for the people, where you don't have the infrastructure that is needed, where people are walking on the streets. You cannot find sanitizers in the United States of America. Think about Haiti. What can you find? Now ICE has made the decision to send Emmanuel “Toto” Constant to Haiti. I want people to get this clearly. It’s not that we are saying not to deport a mass murderer. That's not what we are saying. We are saying that this is not the time to send someone who has committed such atrocities. We are saying that the United States has a better prison system where he can stay and not harm anybody else. Second, because of COVID, deporting so many COVID detainees to Haiti would make the matter worse.”
Brian Concannon, former Executive Director of The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), stated, “The US is planning to tomorrow promote injustice in Haiti, once again. Emmanuel Constant has been found responsible for mass murder, rape and grand larceny by three courts in two countries. When Haiti's government was willing and able to prosecute Constant 20 years ago, the US refused to deport him once he threatened to reveal the details of CIA support for his FRAPH death squad. Haiti now has a government that is engaging in the same type of attacks against pro-democracy activists that Constant and FRAPH committed in the 1990s. Sending Constant back to Haiti in the current context is endangering the lives of democracy supporters throughout the country."
Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator for IJDH, stated, “The United States is disrespecting and endangering Haiti and its people by intending to deport known coronavirus-positive persons. Haitian President Moise should follow the advice of his scientific advisors by halting deportations from the United States during the pandemic, which threatens to devastate an ill-prepared Haiti.”
Tessa Petit, Executive Director of Hatian American Community Development Corporation (HACDC), stated, “Haiti is now at the state where it has on average 98-100 new cases per day. Haiti is now facing what the people in the biggest slums of Port-Au-Prince are calling a fever epidemic. People are collapsing while walking up and down the streets. I’ve seen videos of ambulances driving by and picking up dead bodies on the side of the road. This is how bad it is. Any more people who are COVID-19 positive would just make the situation worse.”
Call President Trump today at 202-456-1111 and demand the President put a moratorium on all deportations to Haiti and other nations during this pandemic. Please Call your Representatives today as well.
Family Action Network Movement (FANM) formerly known as Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc)/ Haitian Women of Miami is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to the social, economic, financial and political empowerment of low to moderate-income families to give them the tools to transform their communities.