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Haitians Have No Reason Not to Go Back, INS Says

February 11, 1986|Associated Press

MIAMI — There will be no change in immigration policy concerning Haitian exiles with the fall of President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier, and would-be refugees have "no reason not to go back," a U.S. immigration official said.

About 45,000 Haitian exiles are currently subject to deportation procedures.

But Haitian advocates are in Washington seeking backing for a program that would allow exiles to visit their homeland without yielding the right to come back to the United States.

"I think it's in the best interests of the United States and Haiti," said Miami lawyer Ira Kurzban, who has been helping Haitians fight deportation for eight years. "If you have 20,000 to 30,000 people going back at once, that would cause even greater chaos."

Special Policy Unlikely

However, an INS spokesman in Washington said such a program was unlikely.

"There's no movement by INS to create a special policy," said Duke Austin. "We're saying they're undocumented and here illegally.

"What would be the motivation in allowing them to go back to Haiti, then come back here if they don't like it and continue their claim?"

He added that the celebrations in Haiti of Duvalier's departure indicate that Haitians believe there has been a significant change, one that will weaken the claims of exiles who said they fled persecution by the Duvalier regime.

"Now that the Duvalier government isn't there, there would be no reason not to go back," Austin said.

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