Letter to President Bush asks for reconsideration of indefinite detention policy
(WASHINGTON, DC) The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today expressed concern over a recent Bush Administration policy shift that targets asylum-seeking refugees of Haitian descent. In mid-March, the Immigration and Naturalization Service acknowledged that it secretly reversed long-standing agency policy by ordering the indefinite detention of Haitian asylum seekers. Refugees from other countries will continue to be routinely released.
In a letter sent to President George W. Bush, the Commission expressed its long-standing view that "discriminatory practices and procedures must be eliminated from our national immigration policies and laws," and called upon the Administration to immediately end the practice of detaining Haitian refugees.
"The Commission first took up the issue of discrimination faced by Haitian immigrants in 1980 when we issued the report, The Tarnished Golden Door: Civil Rights Issues in Immigration," according to Chairperson Mary Frances Berry. "We continue to be concerned that asylum seekers from Haiti are treated differently than others and, as we have done with previous Administrations, we are today communicating that concern to President Bush."