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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE Mc Nary v. Haitian Centers Council ACLU Calls Upon President Clinton to Renounce "Kennebunkport Order" In Spite of Supreme Court's Decision For IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 21, 1993 The American Civil Liberties Union decried the decision handed down today by the U.S. Supreme Court in McNary v. Haitian Centers Council. Today's decision reverses last summer's holding by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that President Bush's "Kennebunkport Order" violated the Refugee Act of 1980. The Order, in a sharp departure from earlier practice, instructed the Coast Guard forcibly to return all Haitians, including bona fide refugees, to Haiti without any inquiry into their reasons for fleeing. McNary v. Haitian Centers Council was initiated shortly after President Bush issued the order by a team of legal organizations, including the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights-San Francisco, and the law firm of Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett. In its 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court held that the President's power to intercept and repatriate undocumented aliens was not limited by either the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 or the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. While the Court recognized the "moral weight" of the ACLU's argument that the spirit of the Convention was to prevent the repatriation of "refugees to their potential oppressors", it held that as a technical matter, the Convention "was not intended to have extraterritorial effect" and that therefore the policy was legal. Although the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the Kennebunkport Order, Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project has called upon President Clinton to abandon the policy he once condemned as "cruel." "President Clinton vowed to keep the Bush policy in place for only a temporary period of time," Guttentag said. "His efforts to restore democracy in Haiti have so far resulted in only greater confusion and frustration. The time to renounce the interdiction program and give protection to bona fide refugees is long overdue." Guttentag also pointed out that the Court's decision, "sends a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. will implement international refugee protections only when it is convenient. As a result of this decision," he continued, "the U.S. claims the legal authority to directly assist the military dictators in Haiti by returning political refugees to their persecutors." --endit-- ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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