February 5, 1992
I write to urge you to support fully legislation introduced by Congressman Romano Mazzoli to suspend the forced repatriation of Haitians who are seeking refuge from the political repression and violence occurring in their homeland. Continued repatriations by the Administration seriously jeopardizes the lives of returned Haitians as human rights conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate.
Recently, the Administration has recalled the U.S. Ambassador the Haiti in protest of the violent activities of the Haitian military regime, including the brutal beating of Prime Minister-designate Rene Theodore and assassination of his bodyguard. Despite this recognition of deteriorating conditions in Haiti, the Administration has resumed repatriations.
It is morally reprehensible to deport the Haitians before we are certain of their safety. Currently, there is no mechanism in place to monitor human rights conditions in Haiti. We should refrain from any return of Haitian refugees until such a mechanism is in place and guarantees that human rights conditions are secure enough to guarantee the lives of the refugees.
We ask that you support Congressman Mazzoli's legislation and his efforts to move that legislation as expeditiously as possible. Thank you for your support.
Father Richard Ryscavage, S.J.
Migration and Refugee Services