MIAMI (CBS4) – A Haitian man deported earlier this year to his homeland has died in jail of cholera-like symptoms.
Wildrick Guerrier, 34, was among the first group sent back to Haiti from the U.S. since last year’s earthquake. All but one had been convicted of a crime in the U.S.
Immigrant advocates have warned that Haitians sent back may face serious health problems or death if they are sent to Haiti which is dealing with a cholera epidemic and has notoriously unsanitary jails.
The advocates say at least one other deported Haitian is suffering from cholera-like symptoms.
Last December, Susana Barciela with the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) said the deportations could constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
“If they get deported, the conditions in Haiti are such that it could amount to a death sentence,” Barciela said.
However Barbara Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), defended the government’s actions.
“ICE is resuming the removal of criminal aliens in coordination with the Government of Haiti and consistent with our domestic immigration enforcement priorities. ICE is legally required to repatriate criminal aliens to their country of origin or release them into U.S. communities if their repatriation is not reasonably foreseeable,” she said in a written statement.
More than 300 Haitians are reportedly being held pending deportation.
Several legal and immigrant rights groups want the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to stop Haitian deportations.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)