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ACLU Criticizes Clinton Haitian Policy;
Says President-Elect Fails to Correct Illegalities
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 1993
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized as inadequate and
inappropriate the Haitian policy announced today by President-elect Bill
Lucas Guttentag, the Director of the ACLU's national Immigrants'
Rights Project, said the Clinton policy extends the illegal and immoral
activities started by Bush Administration in its May 24 Kennebunkport
"We agree that the long-term solution to the refugee crisis is to
restore democracy in Haiti," Guttentag said. "But we strongly disagree
with his belief that the only short-term solution is to directly
repatriate Haitians, many of whom are legitimate political refugees."
The President-elect's promise to expand in-country processing will
not work, Guttentag said. "It doesn't provide protection for the people
most in need," he added. Guttentag was part of a fact-finding delegation
that returned from Haiti last night.
Guttentag said that he understood Clinton's concerns about Haitians
putting themselves in danger as they attempt sea crossings, but that the
President-elect's decision is misguided. "You can rescue people at sea
without directly repatriating them to Haiti," he said. "We need to rescue
people, but not return them to persecution."
Under United States and international law, Guttentag concluded, the
Clinton Administration must develop a policy that distinguishes between
economic and political refugees. "He cannot maintain an illegal status
quo while he seeks a long-term solution,"
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