Haitian Refugees

WHEREAS this country was founded on the principle of maintaining an open door in relation to people trapped by oppression; and

WHEREAS the Jewish people have long been victims of unfair persecution for our religious or political beliefs; and

WHEREAS many American Jews and many American citizens have come to this country to escape persecution; and

WHEREAS several thousand Haitian nationals who claim to be refugees from the oppressive regime of Jean Paul Duvalier have arrived in Miami making claims for political asylum after treacherous journeys on small boats; and

WHEREAS the government of the United States, through the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has refused to grant full hearings with the right to present testimony to an impartial fact finder; and

WHEREAS the government of the United States has jailed many of the men and required them to post bonds in order to obtain their freedom; and

WHEREAS the United States is a signatory to the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, which calls for the due process of law before any person claiming political asylum is returned to his/her country of origin;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of American Hebrew Congregations urges the administration in Washington and Congress to take the following action:

  1. To grant full political asylum hearings and the right to be heard to all Haitian nationals seeking asylum in this country and to take other measures that would ameliorate the situation;
  2. To immediately release from custody without the necessity of posting bond all Haitian nationals seeking political asylum in this country;
  3. To grant temporary work authorization to those Haitians awaiting the determination of their cases; and
  4. To authorize an immediate stop to the deportation of all Haitian nationals claiming political asylum until there are full guarantees from the government of Haiti that they will not be harmed.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the member congregations of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations be urged to send assistance and sustenance to the Haitian Relief Agencies in cooperation with the National Council of Churches so that those Haitian nationals who are now here claiming asylum will be able to remain alive with adequate food and housing.