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U.S. suspends deportation of Haitians

As a result of the chaos and death caused by the earthquake in Haiti, U.S. immigration officials have decided to temporarily suspend the deportation of Haitians, the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday.

The decision to suspend flights carrying deportees back to Haiti has ramifications for thousands of Haitian illegal immigrants in the United States, officials said.

“Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary John Morton today halted all removals to Haiti for the time being in response to the devastation caused by yesterday’s earthquake,” DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said. “ICE continues to closely monitor the situation.”

About 30,000 Haitians in the U.S. have been given final orders of removal and were slated for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to DHS officials. About 160 are held in lockups by ICE; others have been granted alternatives to detention, officials said.

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In addition, an unknown number of other illegal immigrants from Haiti are involved in immigration proceedings that could soon result in deportation orders.

rotella@latimes.com


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