This item is only available as the following downloads:
This volume was donated to LLMC
to enrich its on-line offerings and
for purposes of long-term preservation by
Columbia University Law Library
CUBAN AND HAITIAN IMMIGRATION
LI ,IRA RIES
JUN 4 o9p
U. S. DE l A-4ING
COPY BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW,
IMMIGRATION, AND REFUGEES
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
I, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
S ONE HUNDRED SECOND CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 20, 1991
Serial No. 31
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
51-225 WASHINGTON : 1992
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
\ u- <_^-- "
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
JACK BROOKS, Texas, Chairman
DON EDWARDS, California
JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New Jersey
MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado
DAN GLICKMAN, Kansas
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
EDWARD F. FEIGHAN, Ohio
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
HARLEY O. STAGGERS, JR., West Virginia
JOHN BRYANT, Texas
MEL LEVINE, California
GEORGE E. SANGMEISTER, Illinois
CRAIG A. WASHINGTON, Texas
PETER HOAGLAND, Nebraska
MICHAEL J. KOPETSKI, Oregon
JOHN F. REED, Rhode Island
HAMILTON FISH, JR., New York
CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.,
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
D. FRENCH SLAUGHTER, JR., Virginia
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
TOM CAMPBELL, California
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
JIM RAMSTAD, Minnesota
GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia
JONATHAN R. YAROWSKY, General Counsel
ROBERT H. BRINK, Deputy General Counsel
ALAN F. COFFEY, JR., Minority Chief Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW, IMMIGRATION, AND REFUGEES
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky, Chairman
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
JOHN BRYANT, Texas GEORGE ALLEN, Virginia
MICHAEL J. KOPETSKI, Oregon
EUGENE PUGLIESE, Counsel
LESLIE L. MEGYERI, Assistant Counsel
CARMEL FISK, Minority Counsel
N ovem ber 20, 1991 ........................................................................... .................... 1
Mazzoli, Hon. Romano L., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Kentucky, and chairman, Subcommittee on International Law,
Im m igration, and Refugees................................. ..... ...................................... 1
Dominguez, Maria R., directoring attorney, American Immigration Lawyers
Association Pro Bono Project, South Florida Chapter........................................ 154
Fascell, Hon. Dante B., a Representative in Congress from the State of
F lo rid a ........................................ .................................................................................. 5
Gelbard, Robert S., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-
American Affairs, Department of State, accompanied by Brunson
McKinley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Refugee
P program s........................................................................................................................ 57
Guttentag, Lucas, director, Immigrants' Rights Project, American Civil
Liberties U union ....................................................................................................... 164
Helton, Arthur C., director, Refugee Project, Lawyers Committee for Human
R ig h ts ............................................................................................................................ 113
Leahy, Rear Adm. William P., Jr., Chief, Office of Law Enforcement and
Defense Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation.......... 83
Lehman, Hon. William, a Representative in Congress from the State of
F lorida ......................................................................................... ................................. 26
Lewis, Hon. Tom, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida......... 42
Little, Cheryl A.E., supervising attorney, on behalf of Haitian Refugee Center,
In c ..................................................................................................................... ..... 14 1
McCalla, Jocelyn, executive director, National Coalition for Haitian Refugees. 134
McNary, Gene, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service, ac-
companied by Ricardo Inzunza, Deputy Commissioner, and Rex J. Ford,
Associate Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General,
Departm ent of Justice.................................................... ..................................... 68
Owens, Hon. Major R., a Representative in Congress from the State of New
Y o rk ........................................ ...................................................................................... 4 4
Rangel, Hon. Charles B., a Representative in Congress from the State of New
Y o rk ................................................................................................... ........................ 2 0
Smith, Hon. Lawrence J., a Representative in Congress from the State of
F lorid a ........................................................................................................................... 33
Stein, Daniel A., executive director, Federation for American Immigration
R reform ......................................................................... ................................................. 182
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Dominguez, Maria R., directoring attorney, American Immigration Lawyers
Association Pro Bono Project, South Florida Chapter: Prepared statement.... 157
Fascell, Hon. Dante B., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Editorial, "Stop Haitian Interdiction!", the Miami Herald, dated
N ovem ber 20, 1991 ............................................................ .......................... 41
Letter to President Bush from Representatives Fascell, Lehman, and
Smith of Florida, dated July 18, 1991....................................................... 18
Prepared state ent ........................................................................................... 8
Gelbard, Robert S., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-
American Affairs, Department of State:
Prepared state ent ............................................................. ........................... 60
Reply to Representative Kopetski's request on Haiti..................................... 102
Guttentag, Lucas, director, Immigrants Rights Project, American Civil
Liberties Union, and Judy Rabinovitz, staff counsel: Prepared statement....... 166
Helton, Arthur C., director, Refugee Project, Lawyers Committee for Human
Rights: Prepared state ent ....................................................................................... 116
Kopetski, Hon. Michael J., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Oregon: Prepared state ent....................................................... ...................... 48
Leahy, Rear Adm. William P., Jr., Chief, Office of Law Enforcement and
Defense Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Transportation:
Prepared state ent ............................................................................................... 86
Lehman, Hon. William, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Florida: Prepared state ent....................................................... ...................... 28
Little, Cheryl A.E., supervising attorney, on behalf of Haitian Refugee Center,
Inc.: Prepared state ent ............................................................................................ 144
Mazzoli, Hon. Romano L., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Kentucky, and chairman, Subcommittee on International Law, Immigra-
tion, and Refugees:
Temporary restraining order issued November 19, 1991, concerning
H aitian s............................................................................................................... 52
Letter to Acting Attorney General William J. Barr, from Robert D.
Evans, director, American Bar Association, dated November 18, 1991..... 55
McCalla, Jocelyn, executive director, National Coalition for Haitian Refugees:
P prepared state ent .................................................................................................... 136
McNary, Gene, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service:
Prepared state ent ............................................................................................... 70
Rangel, Hon. Charles B., a Representative in Congress from the State of New
York: Prepared state ent .................................................................................... 23
Smith, Hon. Lawrence J., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Florida: Prepared state ent....................................................... ....................... 37
Stein, Daniel A., executive director, Federation for American Immigration
Reform : Prepared state ent............................... ....................... ....................... 184
Appendix 1.-Statement of Talbot D'Alemberte, president, American Bar
A association .................................................................................................................... 213
Appendix 2.-Statement of Ralston H. Defenbaugh, Jr., executive director,
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service ........................................................ 214
Appendix 3.-Statement of Dale S. De Haan, director, Immigration and
Refugee Program, Church World Service................................................................ 218
Appendix 4.-Letter from Robert D. Evans, director, Washington Office of the
A m erican Bar A ssociation.......................................................................................... 223
Appendix 5.-Statement of Rev. Richard S.J. Rsycavage, executive director,
Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Catholic Conference............................... 225
Appendix 6.-Statement of the American Jewish Committee.............................. 236
Appendix 7.-Statement of Hon. Ed Towns, a Representative in Congress
from the State of N ew Y ork..................................................................................... 237
Appendix 8.-Statement of Washington Office on Haiti ....................................... 241
CUBAN AND HAITIAN IMMIGRATION
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1991
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW,
IMMIGRATION, AND REFUGEES,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room
2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Romano L. Mazzoli
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Romano L. Mazzoli, Howard L. Berman,
John Bryant, Michael J. Kopetski, and Bill McCollum.
Also present: Representatives John Conyers, Jr., and Benjamin
Staff present: Eugene Pugliese, counsel; Leslie L. Megyeri,
assistant counsel; Lizzie Daniels, secretary; and Carmel Fisk,
Mr. MAZZOLI. The subcommittee will come to order.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, if I might ask unanimous con-
sent that the subcommittee permit the coverage of this hearing in
whole or in part by television broadcast, radio broadcast, or still
photography, in accordance with committee rule 5.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Is there objection?
The Chair hears none. It is so ordered.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN MAZZOLI
Mr. MAZZOLI. The subcommittee will come to order. We will have
an extensive hearing today on the whole question of the Cuban/
Haitian immigration movement. I have a few statements to make,
and then I would certainly yield to my friend from Florida.
Events are moving at a breakneck pace, and of course just this
morning's paper contains the story of the fact that a Federal judge
yesterday issued an order restraining the further movement of
people back to Haiti who are on the high seas or who are in Cuba
at Guantanamo, and it would not surprise me that even as we pro-
ceed today through our hearing if other material developments
occur. So what we talk about today is in the context of fast-break-
ing developments and of our trying in some respect to play a little
bit of catchup.
It is interesting to note that this hearing today was set several
weeks ago, and it is propitious that it occurs right in the middle of
this maelstrom of activity, because I do think it gives us, all of us
on the panel and our distinguished witnesses, an opportunity to
frame the issue and the opportunity to put a context to it that I
think is so very important. These issues involve human beings, and
therefore they have special pertinence to all of us.
I realize that foreign policy is many-faceted and therefore com-
posed of separate elements, and these elements have shadings, and
they have texture, they have nuances, and it is hard to put an ab-
solute yes or an absolute no to the issue.
I do think, though, that foreign policy, while it has to be applica-
ble to a number of situations-it may need again to have that tex-
ture and that shading-ought to have underlying principles, immu-
table principles. Our foreign policy ought to be consistent, it ought
to be fair-handed, it ought to be even-handed, it must be equitable,
it must treat the people in a balanced and fair way.
Another element, another principle, I would say, is that of com-
passion. There has to be always concern for the human dimension.
There has to be a humanity in this foreign policy. There must be a
morality in the foreign policy.
Therefore, applying these few thoughts to the factors before us,
and particularly the factor of the Haitian immigration, it seems to
me that our policy at this point toward Haiti and Haitians is con-
structed on legal principles, statutory principles, treaties, prece-
dence. These are, intended or not, cold, inflexible, hard-edged; they
don't have that kind of compassion, that feeling that I think they
I think our policy ought to be constructed not just along the lines
of treaties and precedents and what-have-you but also with that
humanitarian feeling, the principle of compassion, because people,
human beings, are involved. I don't know that those are mutually
exclusive. I don't think that they are somehow inconsistent one
with the other. I think you can have a foreign policy based that
way, and that is what I hope we can arrive at.
Now this is not the province of this subcommittee or this com-
mittee, it is a province, among others, of the gentleman from Flori-
da Mr. Fascell's Foreign Affairs Committee, the gentleman from
New York's Committee on Ways and Means, a number of commit-
tees. However, I think our committee has an opportunity to help in
the unified effort to reach that goal of a fair, even-handed foreign
policy that does take into consideration the human dimension.
Today, among many other things we will talk about is the tempo-
rary protected status, which the gentleman from Florida and I
began working on many Congresses ago. In those days, it was
called safe harbor; now it is called TPS. Should that be granted to
the Haitians on the high seas, wherever they might be? It has been
frequently granted and has been granted more recently to Liberi-
ans, Somali, Lebanese, and Kuwaits.
We need to reexamine the whole policy of interdiction. That was
a policy built along lines in the early 1980's with another govern-
ment, and the Government has been long since deposed, and yet
the policy continues. Should it be retained? Should it be abolished?
Is it possible to modify that policy and make it applicable to what
we have today?
The embargo and asset freeze is a unified policy, I think it is an
OAS policy. Has it outlived its usefulness? I mean it clearly is con-
tributing to the dimensions of the debacle in Haiti itself, the eco-
nomic debacle. It obviously doesn't make it easier for people who
live in Haiti who want to stay there. On the other hand, should we
relieve it at this point? Is there a chance to modify it? Are there
other types of sanctions that can show the depth of our disgust at a
freely elected democratic government being overthrown but, at the
same time, help the people without hurting them?
Is this an immigration emergency? Are we on the verge of it? We
have at least three members from the State of Florida in our first
panel today. Should this trigger the release of the money under the
program the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Smith, among others,
helped put together?
The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Fascell, has some very interest-
ing statements this morning on the question: Are we prepared? Do
we have a contingency plan? Is that a valid plan? Has it been
tested? Is there any way to test it? Are we prepared to move in the
event that there is something that would lead to a kind of repeat of
Many postulate the fact that under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment
Act people coming from Cuba can be very quickly adjusted to the
status of resident alien, but that is not possible for people from
other lands. Should it be kept? Is there something specific about
Cuba, specific about the 1966 act, or should it be somehow
Having said that, I believe we have an opportunity, this subcom-
mittee and the gentlemen before us and the people to follow, to
make a contribution to the overall effort to try to find our way
through it, and, again, these are very quick-paced times. What we
say today may be considered outdated by this afternoon, but I
think we ought to give it a try.
I would now yield to the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
We certainly did not anticipate when we began to set this hear-
ing that it would be a focal point for the situation with regard to
Haiti. It was rather, as I recall, out of the concerns that you and I
shared with some of our colleagues over the whole question of what
happens in the future on a contingency situation with respect to
perhaps Cuba, maybe Haiti, or whatever, and the increased flow
that we began to see coming by boat-but not in these sizable num-
bers-some time in the early part of this year and last year.
So times have overtaken us a little bit, and it is an even more
timely hearing that we are having today, and I appreciate very
much your holding it.
I would like to make an opening comment with respect to Haiti.
I certainly think that the people of Haiti are suffering. There is no
doubt in my mind. Economically, they have been disadvantaged for
quite some time, regardless of the Government. There is also no
question that all of us share a concern over the Government of
Haiti presently and the fact that it is of the nature that it is and
that the elected government was recently overthrown.
What isn't so clear to us at this point-at least it isn't clear to
this member-is the degree to which the people are being political-
ly oppressed, even though there are human rights violations there.
As we all know, the laws in this country with respect to asylum
and refugee status are fairly well defined, and I think that they are
good laws. I think that they do require the threat of persecution,
political persecution or religious persecution, and they are not laws
designed to give refuge to those who are economically deprived
simply because that number in the world, unfortunately, is too
So as we look at this today, and as I listen to the testimony that
comes before us, not only with respect to Haiti but with respect to
the whole question of Florida and the issue of how we treat inter-
diction and so forth, I'm going to have to put on a double set of
glasses. One, I certainly share the compassion and the concern for
the people of Haiti, but I also share the concern that our laws be
fairly and appropriately applied to protect America and its citizens.
One of the questions that has always been the case with regard
to boat people coming, whether they are coming from Cuba or
Haiti or wherever, to the shores of this country and particularly
the State of Florida has been the question of their safety in the
kind of vessels they choose to come in and what harm is likely to
result if larger and larger numbers decide to come as a result of
encouragement that we might give.
In addition to that, we have the very question as to whether we
want to encourage this. Is there not a necessity that we have some
deterrence lest we get another Cuban Mariel situation on our
hands, be it from Haiti or be it from Cuba? and I don't think any of
us want that. Some of us in Florida lived through that process and
remember it very well. That is why we are holding this hearing
today, to see if there were contingency plans and how far along
they have developed to keep something like that from happening.
So while I may have compassion for the Haitian people and it
may well be that there is a legitimate argument, as some have
made, for temporary status in this country or safe harbor for those
who are already here, I think it is a whole other story as to wheth-
er we set aside principles that have guided us for some time in this
respect as far as interdiction is concerned and whether or not we,
by doing so, would be encouraging thousands upon thousands of
people to attempt to come to this country in vessels or by means
which simply are unsafe for them and in a way which would flood
and put a burden on the State of Florida and on this country, and
we don't want to do that, I don't believe.
So I'm looking forward to hearing the various views that are pre-
sented today with regard to the particulars of the Haitian matter
but also with regard to the whole big picture of our interdiction
policy and of our contingency plans with regard to the questions
that arose after the Mariel incident now almost a decade ago.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. The gentleman's comments were very well stated,
and we are now pleased to be joined by our friend from California,
if he has any opening statements.
Mr. BERMAN. No, Mr. Chairman, I don't have an opening state-
ment as such. I just have two thoughts to share with the adminis-
tration in hopes that they can explain to me the current policy, I
guess temporarily restrained by court, but the current policy in
light of the policy toward refugees from other countries, most no-
ticeably Cuba-how they can justify the present policy with respect
to Haiti, and what happened to the assurances that were given in
briefings last week that no refugees from Haiti would ever be repa-
triated to that country.
There are, I think, serious questions about the morality uf our
current policy that need to be explained, and I'm sure the members
of this distinguished panel which is testifying first will have some-
thing to say about all this, but I guess I want to just put myself on
their side of this issue in urging the administration to think again
about the implications of its current policy.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I thank the gentleman very much, and now we are
pleased to turn to our panel. We have a panel of remarkably tal-
ented people, and I think I would say that everybody is equal but I
guess you have the primus inter pares, so we will start with the
gentleman from Florida, Mr. Fascell, since he is the chairman and
one of the senior Members of the House.
Dante, we welcome you, and we would be happy to have your
statements. As I have told my friends, because of the length of the
day and the fact that we are in session, I would respectfully sug-
gest maybe statements within the 5 minutes, and then we could get
on to questions or comments.
STATEMENT OF HON. DANTE B. FASCELL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. FASCELL. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, first let
me express my appreciation for responding to the request that sev-
eral of us made to you to have a hearing on this subject some time
First of all, I have a prepared statement which I would like to
submit for the record, and then let me proceed extemporaneously
on some points.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Certainly. Without objection, it will be made part
of the record.
Mr. FASCELL. I think the chairman and the ranking member
have set the benchmarks for this hearing. As far as the long-term
implications are concerned, those are matters for serious study
when we have time, however, right now, we are confronted with an
emergency, which needs to be addressed by this committee and by
our Government and by other governments.
I think that the criterion which the chairman has laid down is a
fair criterion. I don't know that I could add too much to it. I think
we start out with the safety of the individuals and with their rights
as human beings, consistent with our own value system and our
own laws. Many of us have said that it was inhuman and unfair to
keep these people on boats while we tried to make up our minds,
although I believe the delay was in good conscience.
The fact that there was a response beyond the United States is
welcome. We should extend a great deal of thanks and credit to the
UNHCR, the United Nations, the OAS, and other countries which
have volunteered to at least look at this problem to see if the ques-
tion of safe haven can't be a temporary respite while the-political
situation in Haiti is being sorted out. I think that is commendable
and that ultimately something may be done.
Unfortunately, under the court order right now, there are still
people on boats. That is not a good thing. Something needs to be
done about that right now, and the answer is to get the people off
the boats. Since repatriation is perceived as immoral, and racist
and unfair, something else will have to be done either with safe
havens in the United States or in other countries or with a combi-
nation of both, and it will have to be done immediately.
What do we do about other Haitians? Certainly, if we are going
to be concerned and humane in our treatment, we can't send the
wrong message. The people in Haiti are desperate. The political up-
heavals, and economic disasters which have characterized Haiti are
not new. The disaster has been there for a long time.
I won't comment on whether or not Haiti, rightly or wrongly,
has been the stepchild of this hemisphere, but the fact is that, de-
spite the best efforts of many countries, the United States included,
to do something about the political situation and economic develop-
ment in Haiti, it has not worked. It is not surprising, therefore,
that for many years the people of Haiti and other islands in the
Caribbean have sought refuge in the United States, and other is-
lands and other countries in order to change their position either
for political reasons or economic reasons or for personal safety rea-
sons. All of those considerations are valid and cannot be ignored.
If the situation is desperate-and it certainly is if you are black
and living in Haiti in a situation where you are not sure whether
the Tonton Macoutes still exist or not, or you are going to get shot,
or you are going to get thrown in jail because you don't look right,
and you are starving to death, and your family is starving to death,
I can understand why you would do almost anything, whether to
take a leaky boat or to swim on the back of a crocodile, to go some
place else to get out of where you are. But that does not mean any
one particular area can take all these people at this time.
We cannot ignore these are human factors which will impact on
our policy. The first thing that needs to be done is to deal with the
immediate problem of the people who are on the boats. Then let's
get on to the next question where the United States needs the kind
of help that is coming out of the United Nations, and the support
of other countries and the OAS, in order to fashion a response that
is going to deal with the inevitable outflow of people in the short
We also have other long-term problems which this committee
needs to address. I have told this committee before that we cannot
escape the problem of asylum. As you know, under the court order,
the rights of individuals have to be respected, and once they reach
the jurisdiction of the United States, whether it is on board a ship
or on land or in the air or wherever it is, the laws of this country
will apply. One of those is the law of asylum.
When people apply for asylum, you cannot put them in a camp
some place. You are going to have the problem of whether or not
they are walking the streets; you are going to have the problem of
whether or not they are entitled to a green card; and you are going
to have the problem of whether or not they are entitled to health
facilities, food, and all of the other elements that make a decent
If you put that all in one community you are not being fair to
that community. That is another problem that has to be consid-
ered. It is easy to talk about safe haven in other countries; it is
quite another thing for the UNHCR to have the persuasive capabil-
ity to get those countries to cooperate. It is the same in the United
States. It is one thing to say you will have a dispersal policy; it is
another thing to have that policy implemented in a fair and pro-
Then, when you add the additional burden on local facilities
which has to be borne by the local taxpayer, fairness goes out the
window and you begin to lose compassion. What you are doing is
impacting on all of the local facilities-schools, hospitals, et
cetera-and right away people say, "Wait a minute, I'm a good
guy, but this is as much as I can take; I can't take any more, some-
This kind of situation is a practical one, it has nothing to do with
racism-although unfortunately it may with some people since
there is still some of that around. But the distribution of asylum-
seekers once they are in the United States is not easy, given the
court decisions and current law. Asylum was conceived of as apply-
ing to individual cases. Nobody ever conceived of asylum as apply-
ing to 10,000 people at one time. Asylum should be quite different
from refugee status.
As a result court action by people who are concerned asylum-
seekers go into the community. Once they go into the community,
we have the same problem we name with respect to the Cuban Ad-
justment Act. But it is multiplied by millions of people. If you do
let the doors down, you have to do it for everybody.
I don't envy this committee in trying to sort through the prob-
lems, but I do think that we have to look very carefully at how you
deal with asylum cases in the long term.
Mr. Chairman, let me thank you and the committee once again,
for tackling this difficult problem and helping us get past this
emergency which is at hand right now.
In the long term, I would think that some kind of a multination-
al economical effort has to be undertaken-and it should start im-
mediately-in Haiti to give the Haitian people hope so they don't
jump in leaky boats and try to travel 800 miles in search of safety,
food, and medical attention. Economic development is the only so-
The embargo which is now in place to force a change on the elite
and the rich in Haiti who supported the coup may work some day;
but, in the meantime, the embargo is creating a disaster for poor
people. It is undermining economic development. That needs to be
changed. We need to turn the situation around in some way which
is supportive of the principles of the democratic process.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Fascell follows:]
November 20, 1991
STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN DANTE B. FASCELL (D-FLA)
CUBAN AND HAITIAN IMMIGRATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION, REFUGEES AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, I wish
to thank you for inviting me to testify today and to commend you for holding
this hearing to examine a number of vital issues related to the entry into
the United States of citizens of Haiti and Cuba. The flow from these two
countries has had a major and disproportionate affect on the State of
Florida -- both in the benefits that have accrued to the State through the
thousands of new and highly productive citizens making contributions to their
new communities in many walks of life and in the administrative, legal and
financial problems which ensue whenever large of numbers of new arrivals
need to be absorbed in a short period of time. And so, I am particularly
pleased to join my colleagues from South Florida in outlining our perspective
on this national question.
Mr. Chairman, in July of this year, fully two months before the
coup in Haiti, I joined my colleagues from South Florida, Bill Lehman and
Larry Smith, in writing to you and to President Bush about the need for
urgent attention to the issue of Cubans and Haitians entering the United
States without documentation. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would
like to include the full text of that letter in the record as part of my
In our letter we urged a thorough review of United States policy as
it applies to Haitians with a view toward once and for all eliminating--
either legislatively or administratively--the perception of discrimination or
unequal treatment. Unfortunately, the response we received from the
President was a non-response and the perception of discrimination has
continued to grow and has now been severely exacerbated in the tragic
aftermath of the Haitian coup. I hope our deliberations today will be the
beginning of a process whereby we can eliminate any vestiges of
discrimination and unfair and unequal treatment in the spirit and practice of
our immigration law and our law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Chairman, since our letter in July, the situation with regard
to Haitians has deteriorated as a result of the tragic coup d'etat which has
deprived the citizens of Haiti of their hard won constitutional democracy.
The United States correctly has condemned the coup and called for the
restoration of democracy; the United States has correctly ended all military
and economic aid to Haiti; and the United States has correctly participated
in an international embargo of trade and financial dealings with Haiti.
While it is hoped that this international pressure will lead to the
restoration of constitutional government and human rights in that hapless
land, it will also inevitably have the unfortunate side effect of, perhaps
even in the short term, the collapse of the Haitian economy which, in turn,
will lead to food shortages and general instability which will increase
pressure on desperately poor Haitians to seek to better their lives and those
of their families by attempting to enter the United States illegally.
Since the United States and Haiti reached agreement in 1982 on the
policy of interdiction, thousands of Haitians have been returned to Haiti
after having been intercepted on the high seas. In recent years, these
numbers have been falling; from 3,368 interceptions by the Coast Guard in
1989, to 1,131 in 1990. During the whole of 1991 before the coup, only 1,558
Haitians were intercepted by the Coast Guard. Since the coup, the numbers of
desperate Haitians trying to escape Haiti has increased dramatically. In the
past six weeks, I understand the Coast Guard has intercepted almost 2,000
Haitians. Of these, only a very few have been found legally qualified to
enter the United States. Hundreds were forced to stay on board Coast Guard
cutters. You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that last week I called on the
Administration to act quickly to get these people off our Coast Guard
cutters. No matter how well intentioned our Coast Guard, no matter how well
intentioned the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and no matter how
many amenities are provided to these poor people on board our ships, keeping
them at sea constituted unfair and inhuman treatment.
I also believe that until the situation in Haiti is stabilized, the
United States should not forcibly deport anyone to Haiti. On October 15,
1991, my colleagues and I from South Florida wrote acting Attorney General
Barr urging him to grant Temporary Protective status (TPS) to Haitians
already in the United States and facing deportation. Although I understand
there have been no deportations since the coup, we have not received an
answer to our letter and TPS has not been formally granted to Haitians, as it
was to Salvadorans, Kuwaitis, Somalis and others. Mr. Chairman, to deny
Haitians TPS under the current circumstances would appear to me to be unfair.
I call again on the Administration to grant TPS immediately to those Haitians
who are already in the United States and who may be facing deportation.
Mr. Chairman, in my view, all this adds up to the appearance of
discrimination in the way federal authorities are applying the law. While I
certainly understand the legal basis for their actions, the present situation
is simply not fair and does not take account of the situation in Haiti and
the special compassion we should have for Haitians under the current
circumstances. Change is urgently needed.
Of course, Mr. Chairman, the larger problem -- and it has clearly
reached the proportions of a crisis -- is what to do with the thousands who
are fleeing Haiti today and will continue to do so until the situation in
Haiti is stabilized. This situation must be resolved now. Those fleeing
cannot be kept on boats, they cannot be kept at the Cuantanamo Naval Base and
they cannot all be brought to the United States. Mr. Chairman, in my
statement last week I called on the Organization of American States to assume
its responsibilities for the human dimensions of the present crisis. The
international effort to bring about the restoration of democracy in Haiti is
an OAS effort; the embargo which is bringing untold hardship to Haitians in
the ultimate aim, perhaps vain, of securing their democratic and human rights
is an OAS effort. The solution to the plight of those fleeing Haiti must
also be an OAS effort.
Mr. Chairman, I applaud the efforts of the State Department and
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to find safe havens for
displaced Haitians in OAS member countries. This effort needs to be pursued
vigorously; nations of the hemisphere must assume their responsibilities.
And, the United States too must play its part by taking its fair share of
these people and paying a fair share of the costs of safe haven and potential
resettlement in third countries.
Only as a last resort should we resort to returning Haitians
to their home county. But we must insist that anyone returned to Haiti be
turned over to a reputable organization, like the Red Cross, which is willing
and has the capacity to monitor that individual's return to Haitian society.
It would be intolerable, Mr. Chairman, should any one returned to Haiti face
persecution by the Haitian authorities simply because he or she attempted to
flee the country. And, I believe, the OAS has an important role to play here
as well, in insuring that Haitians who are returned can live in safety and
without fear of persecution. As I have said before, if this requires a more
active multinational presence, under the aegis of the OAS, on the ground in
Haiti, then we must consider it.
Temporary Protective Status, safe havens, even repatriation are all
temporary measures. The ultimate solution must be the reestablishment of
conditions in Haiti which make it possible for the Haitian people to lead
economically and politically viable lives in the country of their birth.
While I know the embargo is designed to bring about this situation and I have
supported it, I must also say it is adding to the hardship which forces
people to leave. I am coming to the conclusion, Mr. Chairman, that we
cannot wait forever for the embargo to work. Other options may have to be
considered lest the human toll increase beyond the capacity of all of us in
the OAS to bear.
Mr. Chairman, the problem we are encountering with undocumented
immigration from Cuba is of a different order. There, the question is are we
ready for the massive numbers of Cubans who will want to come to the United
States once the Castro regime releases its stranglehold on the Cuban people?
I, for one, believe that day is coming sooner rather than later and that the
totalitarian Castro regime will not escape the winds of change which have
swept so many Communist dictatorships from power. No manner of sham and
shallow reforms as we were treated to at Cuba's Fourth Communist Party
Congress will succeed in postponing this long awaited day. But, Mr.
Chairman, I ask again, "Are we ready?" From what I know of planning by the
federal authorities, I am very much afraid the answer to my question is in
Already this year, the number of Cubans attempting to reach the
United States using the most flimsy craft -- even inner tubes -- has grown
almost five times over last year's rates.
On October 24, 1991, I joined a number of my colleagues in Florida
in raising our concerns with the Administration. The Coast Guard has
developed a contingency plan intended to prevent another chaotic mass
movement of people like we saw in the Mariel Boat lift in 1980. However, I
doubt very much the Coast Guard, despite its fine and well deserved
reputation, has the resources to prevent a flotilla of ships from leaving
Florida to go to Cuba to pick up relatives, friends and even paying
passengers as soon as the floodgates are opened. And what plans are there to
deal with undesirable aliens who may, as in Mariel, mix in with others?
What are the plans to deal with the possible outbreak of violence and
disorder and violations of United States laws? We have no answers to these
vital questions; our letter remains unanswered. Mr. Chairman, answers to
these questions are urgently needed if we are to have the time to revamp
contingency plans to make them more realistic and more likely to succeed.
Mr. Chairman, we cannot condone illegal immigration to the United
States, but neither can we ignore the suffering of the Haitian people nor
should we abandon our firmly held beliefs of non-discrimination and equal
treatment in the application of our laws. I call on the Administration to
accord Haitians already in the United States the temporary protective status
we have accorded to so many other nationalities whose countries have been
undergoing instability and revolution and to insure that Haitians, like all
other nationalities are treated fairly. I call on the Administration, the
OAS and the UNHCR to redouble efforts to secure safe havens for Haitians
fleeing their country. And, I call on the Administration to review its
overall approach to the restoration of democracy in Haiti and to consider
what additional measures may be necessary to bring this crisis, with its
growing human cost, to as early a solution as possible.
I also call on the Administration to review its contingency
planning with regard to the inevitable dramatic increase in immigration from
Cuba which will result from the end of the Castro regime. We need a rational
plan, which draws on the considerable experience and expertise of the Cuban
American community in South Florida.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, there is the vital subject of responsibility
for taking care of the needs of these new arrivals once they reach the
United States. Under the Constitution, immigration is a federal
responsibility. But, this is a responsibility that the federal government is
not meeting fully.
Dade County, Florida, has for many years had a history of accepting
wave after wave of aliens seeking entry to the United States. Many of these
individuals have gone on to very successful careers in business, the
professions, and the arts. They have made significant contributions to
making Dade County the multicultural and dynamic area that it is. But there
is always a transition period when new arrivals are a burden on the local
government. The last time this occurred was after the Mariel boat lift when
thousands of Cubans, many destitute, had to be absorbed by the health,
welfare and education systems of Dade County. Dade and the State of Florida
have done an excellent job, but the strain on their ability to pay has
reached the breaking point. Large numbers of Haitians or Cubans could cause
a collapse of Dade's ability to cope.
The federal government has provided some funds to help Dade and
other heavily affected counties and cities in the United States. The burden
on South Florida is the result of federal policy and is a national
responsibility. Too much of the burden has been left to the local taxpayers
of Dade County and Florida. Initial resettlement costs, education of newly
arrived children who do not speak English, health care for the often
malnourished, and other social needs will all require substantial federal
funds. Mr. Chairman, as part of your review of our policy toward Cuba and
Haiti, it will be imperative to address the question of funding and to insist
that the federal government pay its fair share.
Just as we must be fair in the application of our laws to those
seeking a new life in the United States, we in Washington must be fair to
those areas which bear the initial burdens of incorporating these new
arrivals into our country.
Once again, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I want to
thank you for inviting me here today and to commend you for your initiative
in addressing these important issues.
Congress of the initeb states
uouse of Representatibes
Masftington, iB 20515
July 18, 1991
the Honorable George Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As Members of Congress from South Florida we have been concerned
for some time by the disparate treatment that is afforded different
nationalities seeking to enter the United States.
We all agree that every possible effort must be made to maintain
control of our borders and to uphold a normal immigration policy whereby
those seeking to emigrate must apply for the appropriate visa and be
considered for entry on a case-by-case basis. The cornerstone of our
immigration policy has always been family reunification, refuge from
persecution and equitable consideration of those seeking a better life in
With increasing numbers seeking to enter the country illegally,
however, it has become even more apparent that not all are being treated
equally. While the policy has existed for some time, it was brought
forcefully home when a boatload of Haitians and two Cubans was interdicted by
the Coast Guard. The Cubans were taken to the United States and the
Haitians, with the exception of six requiring medical attention, were forced
to return to :heir country. Furthermore, when Haitians do manage to reach
this country they are detained for far longer periods than any other
nationality before a determination is made on their legal status. This kind
of disparity is outrageous and destructive to our South Florida community.
We understand the legal basis for this action. However, we believe
the time has come for a thorough review of this policy with a view toward
once and for all eliminating even the perception of discrimination or unequal
treatment. The present situation is simply not fair and cannot be allowed to
July 17, 1991
We urge you to give this matter your urgent and full consideration.
DANTE B. FASCELL
, WILLIAM LEHMAN
cc: The Attorney General
Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization
Mr. MAZZOLI. The gentleman's time has expired. I appreciate it
The gentleman has really focused our attention on what perhaps
could be considered the case of a person in trauma. First you have
the EMS who provide oxygen and medical assistance of an emer-
gency nature, until they can go to the hospital when the surgeons
and the internists take over. I think here, as the gentleman points
out, we have really a two-tier problem. One is to deliver emergency
first aid and then later go to the long-term care.
We now welcome our friend and colleague from New York, Char-
lie Rangel, my congressional classmate.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the
sensitive leadership that you have provided for this emergency that
we face as a nation, and I am so pleased to follow the chairman of
Foreign Affairs, because he has now given a backdrop, he has ex-
plained the broader problem that we as a nation have to face, and I
was even moved by his testimony, because there is not an Ameri-
can here, except a Native American, that doesn't have some story
of how their people were seeking a better way of life, how America
was that beacon, and who doesn't choke up when they see that
Statue of Liberty, because they know that, no matter how poor
they may be, or whatever they lack, that they have more than
somebody else. That compassion has really made us a great nation
and a great republic.
The chairman has pointed out, there reaches a point that you
have to establish a balance. You have to make certain that you
don't depreciate the qualify of life for all because you are allowing
your compassion to open up the doors when you don't have the eco-
nomic and political ability to have these people assimilate into soci-
So these are complex problems, and I hope that I will be able to
make some contribution at this point. I would like to introduce my
full statement in the record.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. RANGEL. Because it deals with some legislation that I would
like to work with you on. It deals with problems of expertise that
we need all the committees to work with.
But right now, I would like to join with Dante Fascell and say we
are now talking about an emergency. We are not talking about ex-
isting law, and I challenge anyone to talk about existing policy, be-
cause what we are talking about are lives that are now bobbing up
on the sea on U.S. Coast Guard vessels and, I would like to add,
manned by dedicated Coast Guard people who have always fol-
lowed the direction that has been given to them.
In this case, if this committee hearing does nothing else at all,
we will find out perhaps whose policy this is. I have been on the
phone with the administration for an entire week, and everyone
believes that this is not the answer, but nobody has said yet who
has said that these Haitians should be returned to Haiti, should be
returned. And how are they being returned? To ruthless, criminal,
out-of-control military people that the President has condemned,
the Congress has condemned, the United Nations has condemned,
the Organization of American States has condemned, and yet the
United States of America, with these 2,000 lives in our hands, on
our ships, are prepared to deliver them to a handful of Red Cross
agents and cut out of town as we drop them on shore.
Is this America? Is this the country that is going to say that if
any of these people die on the ship, if they are killed, as these mili-
tary people have sought out the supporters of Aristide and shot
them, and killed them, and they know it-are we going to hear
now that these poor, illiterate people that are escaping at the risk
of their lives on a cutter-many of them ill, some are pregnant-
are now going to have to explain to some bureaucrat that they fall
within the four corners of some law that someone is going to ask
Are we going to ask them whether they were shot at by an eco-
nomic bullet? Was it a political bullet? And suppose the whole
crisis somehow, a philosopher could say, is based on economic con-
ditions. Are we now going to say, well, that justifies us to turn
them over to potential killers? And these are not my words, these
are the bums that we are dealing with, and, I might hurriedly add,
these are the bums that we have armed, and these are the bums
that we have trained, and these are the bums that we have sup-
ported over the years even when it was a dictatorship.
I'm suggesting to you, let's try to find out what the law should
be. Let's try to reform where we can. Let's deal with what Mr.
Smith, Mr. Fascell, and others want to do in the long run, but let's
not have the blood on our hands during this time of the year to say
that we have turned them away from our shores.
The President of the United States reached the height of his pop-
ularity in the United States and the world when Saddam Hussein
viciously and ruthlessly crossed the borders in Kuwait. Did he say,
"Send in the Marines,' that some of us would have resented? No.
He went to heads of nations, he picked up the phone, used the
moral and political power that we as a people invested in him, and
said, "You have to be partners in this international crisis."
Has the President picked up the phone for these poor folks that
have no oil and asked other nations that they have a responsibil-
ity? You bet these poor Caribbean nations should provide at least
the moral leadership in saying what should be done there. You bet
the OAS should be opening up its doors, and so should Europe. So
should France. Talk about a thousand points of light. Where are
the churches that allowed me to be angry with all of the innkeep-
ers because of the way they treated Mary and Joseph? Are they to
be heard as they confer, as they have conferences, to say that we
are asking everyone to share?
Don't tell me there is not enough compassion in this great coun-
try of ours to absorb 1,600/2,000 people, and don't tell me that
there are enough rickety boats or resources left for someone else to
take a gamble that they may be picked up by the Coast Guard cut-
But I am saying that if Europe and Japan and the rest of Asia
all come and say this is not a question of the poor and the rich,
this is not a question of the black and the white, this is a question
where a ruthless, unauthorized, illegal, military has overthrown a
legitimate democracy, and those of us who appreciate the fact that
we need democratic leaders supported should be the first ones to
say that those who are really being killed-and this is not the first
time the military has done it-because they participated in a demo-
cratic process, that we should find some place in our hearts to say
that, "We are not going to return you to Haiti."
If you want to debate how you share this responsibility, count me
in. If the President of the United States wants to tell me what
Japan has said, what France has said, what England has said, what
Germany has said, what the Caribbean Basin Initiative countries
who enjoy tax incentives have said, then we have to talk about it.
But I'm here to say that the reasons that I introduced the bill, the
reasons that you are having the hearings, are moot. This is an
emergency, and we should say what the judge has said any place
I hope that you can find some compassion in your hearts to be
able to go back to your constituents and say that this was not a
political issue, it was not a legal issue, it was an issue of compas-
sion, and even David Duke-even David Duke-has proclaimed this
to be a Christian nation. We are on the eve of Christmas. I might
add that I don't think that David Duke believes that any Jews or
blacks should be in the manger, but he has a different idea of what
Christ is all about.
But it would seem to me that, as a Christian nation, we could say
that this is our gift to these people on the sea, and we are not open-
ing up our doors to everybody, but we are asking everyone to share
in the burden that these people have.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much, Charlie. That was a beauti-
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rangel follows:]
Hon. Charles B. Rangel
Subcommittee on Immigration,
Refugees, and International Law
November 20, 1991
It was just a few months ago that President Bush was pleading to the
world to come to the rescue of the people of Kuwait. This oil-rich
nation in the Middle East suddenly had come under siege from its
neighbor, Iraq, and our country, being the leader of the free world
and carriers of the torch of democracy and human rights across the
globe, vowed not to stand by idly. In a speech to the United Nations,
the President used every ounce of influence and persuasion to
impart to world leaders the importance of restoring democracy to the
war-torn country, and of returning Kuwait to its people. It was, some
had hoped, a new era in U.S. world leadership on freedom,
democracy and the preservation of human rights.
In the end, we saw the rapid formation of a multinational armed
force that drew a line in the sand, then blasted Saddam Hussein and
the evil vestiges of illegal occupation and dictatorship when he
For two days this week hundreds of poor, homeless, refugees from
Haiti were being unloaded off U.S. Coast Guard cutters in a
repatriation to Haiti. They were being returned, battered and
bruised, to the site of the military coup and subsequent violence and
terror from which they had fled.
Despite the fact that these people, like the Kuwaitis, are literally
fighting for their lives and fleeing wanton violence, they were being
told, in effect, "you do not qualify." If this is the New World Order, I
do not want any part of it. Our policy toward the Haitian refugee
situation is abominable and deserves to be reversed.
I am grateful that as I sit here today, a Federal judge's order has put
a temporary halt to this disgraceful exercise, and those Haitians who
twenty-four hours ago were bound to be returned by our Coast
Guard to the quagmire in Haiti have been granted a reprieve. But the
order is only temporary and we may soon return to the disgraceful
policy that required it.
Actually it would be inaccurate to say that we even have a policy on
Haitian refugees, as no one in the White House or the State
Department, where I have called continuously in recent days, seems
to be willing to own up to that cruel action.
Our response to the dramatic attempts by some Haitians to escape
persecution in their homeland is tantamount to having fire and police
personnel in our cities decide, case by case, which calls they will
answer and which ones they will ignore.
We are being told by officials in both the White House and the State
Department that the distinction between the Haitians and others who
have successfully sought political asylum in the United States is that
these Haitian refugees fall into the category of economic, rather than
It seems to me that the two in this case are inextricable linked. In
Haiti, there is no separating the economics from politics. Certainly the
OAS embargo is an economic measure that is meant to have a
political effect of forcing out the renegade government and allowing
the return of the legitimate government of President Aristide. In the
final analysis, the refugees themselves do not stop to ask whether
the bullets they are fleeing are economic or political.
We have acted most insensitively toward the Haitian refugees. How
would we respond, I ask, if the people knocking on the doors of our
shores were from Europe, or a wealthy nation or communist
dictatorship. How would we respond if another group of people from
a Middle Eastern oil kingdom suddenly were invaded or even faced
the threat of an invasion? Would we waste time in deciding whether
to come to their defense? I doubt that we would as we have with
these Haitian refugees. In my view, our policy toward these Haitian
refugees has been not only vicious but racist.
With this policy, our nation is failing a basic political and moral test.
We have claimed that we are bound to adhere to a treaty agreement
with the government of Haiti, signed during the corrupt Duvalier
government. That is a tacit acknowledgement of the current
renegade government, which President Bush himself has condemned
as illegitimate. Such a stance is not only politically bankrupt, but
Likewise is our posture in asking the nation's of the Caribbean to
shoulder the burden of accepting for safe haven all of the refugees
whom we have not condemned to return to the firestorm in Haiti. I
have asked the ambassadors of these nations to share the burden,
but not to suffer it all themselves. No nation in the Caribbean has the
economic resources to do that, and how can we ask them to when we
have not suggested the same to the economic powerhouses of Europe
and Asia, and worse, refused to accept any of the responsibility
This is not the type of international leadership that the President
Bush demonstrated so well in selling the Persian Gulf War to the
American people and the rest of the world. It is that kind of
leadership that is needed in this case, where the President picks up
the phone and asks his fellow presidents for their support.
Some are saying that to accept into this country the 3,000 Haitian
refugees currently adrift would invite a flood of others. At this point,
that is speculation, but what is certain is that during the Persian Gulf
crisis, we demonstrated no similar meanness of spirit by rejecting
desperate people who were in need of our help.
If we can spend $65 billion to free Kuwait, offer up a $1 billion aid
package to feed the people of our former enemies in the Soviet
Union, why can we not open our hearts and share the burden of the
Haitian refugees. During the civil war in Nicaragua, we financed the
Contras and accepted thousands of them onto our shores. We have
accepted into our country, rightly, 20,000 Soviet Jews within the last
year. Why can we not assist these, the most desperate people in our
Mr. Chairman, why can we not demonstrate the same humanity and
compassion in this case that we have proved so often in the past to
be a hallmark of the American spirit?
Mr. MAZZOLI. The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Lehman.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM LEHMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. LEHMAN. I want to congratulate Mr. Rangel and Mr. Fascell
for their eloquent statements, and I want to associate myself with
them. Mr. Chairman, I don't envy you your job or the job of your
subcommittee, but you are doing great, and I appreciate all you do.
I have left a longer statement with you for the record, and I have
a short statement to read, but before I read my short statement I
would just like to let you know what is happening in south Florida
as it relates to all this.
On TV from time to time, they will show the Cubans picked up
at sea and welcomed with open arms, and right after that come the
Haitian pictures, being repatriated back to Haiti. Now what does
that do to our society in south Florida? We have enough tension
already. All it does is create tension we are having a hard time
dealing with, and certainly the Haitian community and those that
care about them have a hard time dealing with it. We are just ex-
acerbating the tensions throughout south Florida and eventually
throughout this country by having these kinds of scenes pictured
over and over again on our television at night.
Mr. Chairman, as I said, I would like to thank you for taking the
initiative in seeking just treatment for Haitians who are fleeing
the terrible political and economic conditions in Haiti. As you
know, for a number of years Haitian refugees have suffered in com-
parison to others that have come to the United States seeking
In 1980, with the passage of the Refugee Act, I had hoped that
equal treatment of Haitian claims to asylum would be the result,
but unfortunately discrepancies continue to exist. Cubans, Nicara-
guans, and others do receive more generous treatment. Incidents
such as Mariel and Brownsville, TX, demonstrated that the orderly
process envisioned by the Refugee Act was just not a reality.
Today there are new circumstances in Haiti which lend even
greater credence to Haitian asylum claims. A democratically elect-
ed government has been overthrown, and it was overthrown while
President Bush was in Miami talking about the capital gains tax,
and he never mentioned anything about what was happening in
Haiti. An illegal government is actively engaged in repression and
I do support Congressman Rangel's bill calling for temporary
protected status for those Haitians already in the United States
and permitting those whom we save at sea to come to a safe haven,
and this save haven should have underlying Federal responsibility
both abroad and in this country, especially in south Florida.
I understand the administration's fear of a magnet effect, and I
certainly do not want to see an exodus on the scale of Mariel. We
cannot, however, ignore the horrendous situation in Haiti and turn
our backs on those who, at great personal risk, seek freedom.
My understanding was, actually, that the administration was
trying to arrange for a regional approach to safe haven even for
those Haitians who had not yet been picked up at sea. Apparently,
the administration's agreement with Venezuela, Belize, Honduras,
and Trinidad-Tobago is limited to providing refuge for only the 550
Haitians who were at sea last week but not the 1,000 or more who
have been picked up since then; they are in never-never land.
These countries should be urged to continue their role so that we
have an emergency process worked out until a legitimate govern-
ment is restored.
The restoration of the Aristide government would resolve the im-
mediate problem we face, but questions that have arisen over the
years concerning the treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers will not
go away. It is important to address the issues of interdiction, deten-
tion, and the adequacy of asylum interviews.
It is my hope that the subcommittee will deal with these issues
during the reauthorization of the Refugee Act, and I am sure my
other south Florida colleagues and I would like to invite the chair-
man and members of the subcommittee to visit Dade County and
see first hand some of the human consequences of our current law,
to visit our schools, visit our hospitals, and see what the impact is
now of the Federal policy. Come on down. We'll go fishing, too.
The administration, however, must bear a large share of the
blame for the spectacle of the Coast Guard cutters filled with Hai-
tians stranded on the high seas with nowhere to go. At the time of
the Aristide overthrow, the likelihood of Haitians feeling the island
should have been obvious. The administration should not have
waited for the Coast Guard to intercept Haitians at sea before they
decided what the hell to do with them. This was unfair to the Coast
Guard and their drug interdiction program and certainly grossly
unfair to the Haitians themselves.
The problem was compounded last weekend by an outrageous de-
cision made at the highest levels. It had appeared to the Congress
last week-at least I understood-until the restoration of President
Aristide and of legal authority in Haiti, that the administration
would agree to provide temporary safe haven for all the Haitians
intercepted at sea. But, instead, the White House has directed the
Coast Guard to return interdicted refugees, as the policy had been
before the coup.
Can the administration honestly certify that Haiti is now a
stable and a safe place for these fleeing people? I certainly doubt it.
The administration is making a mistake by returning Haitians to a
country upon which we have imposed an embargo, a country that
is under a military coup which rules by the gun and not by law.
The administration is not in a position to monitor what happens to
them after they return, and nobody knows what happens to them
at this point. It is unconscionable for the United States to turn
away these boat people under these unstable political circum-
The United States' tradition has always been to welcome refu-
gees when their countries have been unable to vouchsafe their
human and civil rights, yet the Haitians have always been given
the short end of the stick. We need to remove the taint of discrimi-
nation in dealing with Haitians versus the Cubans, Afghans, and
all other groups.
Mr. Chairman, I again thank you for focusing attention on this
very serious matter, and I and certainly my colleagues from south
Florida look forward to working with you in seeking fair and equi-
table solutions to this and other Federal Government related di-
Mr. MAZZOLI. I thank the gentleman from Florida. We have
talked many times about the issue, and he has been indefatigable
in pursuing any solution to these problems, and we appreciate that.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lehman follows:]
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE WILLIAM LEHMAN
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW, IMMIGRATION, AND
NOVEMBER 20, 1991
Mr. Chairman, I would first like to thank you for taking the initiative in
seeking just treatment for the Haitians who are fleeing the terrible political and
economic conditions in Haiti. As you know, for a number of years Haitian
refugees have suffered in comparison to other ethnic groups that have come to
the U.S. seeking freedom. In 1980, with the passage of the Refugee Act, I had
hoped that equitable treatment of Haitian claims to asylum would be the result,
but discrepancies continued to exist. Cubans, Nicaraguans, and others received
far more generous treatment. Incidents such as Mariel and Brownsville
demonstrated that the orderly process envisioned by the Refugee Act was just
not a reality.
Today there are new circumstances in Haiti which lend even greater
credence to Haitian asylum claims, whatever one may have thought in the past.
A democratically-elected government has been overthrown. An illegal
government is in power and is actively engaged in repression and terror. Our
response should be one of compassion and justice.
I support Congressman Rangel's bill calling for temporary protected status
for those Haitians already in the United States and permitting those whom we
save at sea to come to a safe haven. I understand the Administration's fear of
a magnet effect, and I certainly do not want to see an exodus on the scale of
Mariel. We cannot, however, ignore the horrendous situation in Haiti and turn
our backs on those who at great personal risk seek freedom.
We need good intelligence so we can better predict what kind of outflow
to expect. With the current embargo in place, economic conditions in Haiti will
definitely deteriorate. It is of course my hope that the embargo will result in the
demise of the illegal government and the restoration of democracy. In the
meantime, the number of people trying to leave Haiti has been increasing,
although the means of leaving is likely to be limited by the lack of fuel.
Nevertheless, greater desperation may result in Haitians attempting to take even
more unseaworthy vessels.
Once we are committed to providing a safe haven for the refugees, we
need to share the burden. I have no problem with sending Haitians to third
countries as long as we do not end up with permanent refugee camps such as we
51-225 0 92 2
have seen in Southeast Asia. Burden-sharing within the United States should
exist as well, with other states besides Florida lending a hand.
It was my understanding that the Administration was trying to arrange for
a regional approach to safe haven for even those Haitians who had not yet been
picked up at sea. Apparently, the Administrations agreement with Venezuela,
Belize, Honduras and Trinidad-Tobago is limited to providing refuge for only
the 550 Haitians who were at sea last week, but not the 1,000 or more who have
been picked up since. Those countries should be urged to continue their role so
that we have an emergency process worked out until a legitimate government is
restored. The restoration of the Aristide government would resolve the
immediate problem we face, but questions that have arisen over the years
concerning the treatment of Haitian asylum seekers will not go away. It is
important to address the issues of interdiction, detention and the adequacy of
asylum interviews. It is my hope that the subcommittee will deal with these
issues during the reauthorization of the Refugee Act, and I would invite the
chairman and members of the subcommittee to visit Dade County and see first
hand some of the human consequences of our current law.
I would also like to salute the Coast Guard for carrying out the difficult
tasks placed upon it. The Coast Guard's role in immigration enforcement has
been to follow the policy directives set by other agencies. It has tried to carry
out its role in a professional and humane manner. I know that during the recent
crisis the Coast Guard was very vocal in pressing for a resolution to the problem
of where to bring the refugees.
The administration, however, must bear a large share of the blame for the
spectacle of Coast Guard cutters filled with Haitians stranded on the high seas
for days with nowhere to go. At the time of the Aristide overthrow, the
likelihood of Haitians fleeing the island should have been obvious. The
administration should not have waited for the Coast Guard to intercept Haitians
at sea before deciding what to do with them. This was unfair to the Coast
Guard and grossly unfair to the Haitians themselves.
The problem was compounded just this last weekend by an outrageous
decision made at the highest levels. It had appeared to the Congress last week
that, until the restoration of President Aristide and of legal authority in the
country, the Administration would agree to help provide temporary safe haven
to Haitians intercepted at sea. Instead, the White House has directed the Coast
Guard to return interdicted refugees, as the policy had been before the coup.
Can the Administration honestly certify that Haiti is now stable and a safe place
for these fleeing people? I doubt it. The Adminstration is making a mistake by
returning Haitians to a country upon which we have imposed an embargo, a
country that is under a military coup which rules by the gun, not by the law.
The Administration is not in a position to monitor what happens to returnees.
It is unconscionable for the U.S. to turn away these boat people under these
unstable political circumstances.
The U.S.'s tradition has been to welcome refugees from around the world
when their countries have been unable to vouchsafe their human and civil rights,
yet the Haitians have somehow always been given short shrift. We need to
remove the taint of discrimination in dealing with the Haitians versus the
Cubans, the Afghans, and all others who have sought safe haven in desperate
Mr. Chairman, I thank you again for focusing attention on this very
serious problem, and I look forward to working with you in seeking fair and
equitable solutions to this and other refugee-related dilemmas.
Mr. MAZZOLI. The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Smith.
STATEMENT OF HON. LAWRENCE J. SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I certainly appreciate
your having scheduled this hearing and having been so sympathet-
ic to the problems of the refugees in general and the problems of
Florida specifically with reference to that situation.
I seem to be spending nearly as much time on this side of the
dais as I did when I was in my first years in the House with you up
there on the committee.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I remember that very well. The gentleman was a
very valuable member of the subcommittee, and I enjoyed working
Mr. SMITH. I appreciate that.
In addition to what Mr. Rangel said, I just want to make one fur-
ther statement. Whether or not Mr. Duke wants blacks and Jews
in the manger, he can never avoid the reality that it was all Jews
in the manger to begin with, and at least Balthazar, if not others of
the wise men, was black.
I need not tell you, of course, how this situation that currently
exists dismays the people of south Florida. But, in any event, since
the hearing is on a broader basis, let me first address the interdic-
tion of Haitians seeking to enter this country and the current prob-
I repeatedly have stated, Mr. Chairman, that we need a program
that is both fair and humane and that can be supported by the
American people. I joined a number of my colleagues in sending to
the White House a letter asking for temporary protected status for
the Haitians a number of weeks ago. To date, we have received no
response at all-not any.
Mr. Chairman, the issue before us is a humanitarian one. I want
to repeat, humanitarian, not political, not even legal, not in the
short term. Too many people remember what occurred more than
50 years ago when this country refused to allow Jewish refugees
from Nazi Germany to disembark in the United States. We cannot
repeat this sorry episode in our history with the Haitians.
South Floridians and the entire Florida delegation, in fact, are
well acquainted with the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti and its
wonderful people. For those among us who have not had the pleas-
ure to be associated with these people, let me say a few words. The
people of Haiti are generally forthright, sincere, and hard working.
They are also star-crossed. Unfortunately, this has been the case
for Haitians for the entire history of their beleaguered republic,
the second oldest republic in this hemisphere.
The citizens of Haiti have experienced democracy for only 7
months in their almost 200-year history. Their first and rightful
democratic leader is Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man who, unlike
perhaps any other world leader today, truly personifies the hopes
and aspirations of his people. A full 67 percent of the Haitian
people freely and fairly elected Mr. Aristide to office last December
in elections we demanded, in elections that we helped supervise,
and elections that we certified. They expressed their hope in him.
Not only would he end Haiti's sad distinction of being this hemi-
sphere's poorest country, but he would also put an end to the State-
sanctioned political persecution that has historically wracked
Haiti. Anyone opposing the entrenched forces of oppression in
Haiti was sure to come under attack. Mr. Aristide bravely took
these forces on and nearly paid for it with his life.
And I want to join Mr. Lehman, quite honestly, in telling you
how dismayed I was that, on the very day that this President of
Haiti, democratically elected, was being marched out of the presi-
dential palace at the front end of the muzzle of a loaded gun, the
President of the United States, in Miami, the closest spot of the
United States practically to Haiti, didn't even say a word about
that coup actually taking place.
In the hope that his struggle was not in vain, we have all now
joined an international effort by the OAS to rightfully restore the
legitimate government of Haiti. But I submit to you all that our
responsibility does not stop short of humanitarian considerations.
Frankly, it is that which should control our policy right now. We
also should do what we can to help the people of Haiti who are
fleeing political persecution in Haiti.
The provisional government acknowledges 300 dead. Other ob-
servers claim that as many as 1,000 have died. According to Am-
nesty International, a group of uniformed military men seeking re-
venge for the death of a soldier, entered the homes of 30 to 40 resi-
dents in Lamentin 54, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, and gunned
them down at close range. The soldiers then forced other residents
to dig mass graves and bury them. If these instances do not consti-
tute ruthless terror and political persecution, then I don't know
what that word means.
We should remember that President Aristide has been the most
effective problem solver for our immigration problem with respect
to Haiti. How? He simply earned the trust and love of his people.
However bad things were economically during his 7-month tenure,
the Haitian people did not wish to and did not leave their country.
More accurately, they didn't feel compelled to escape. They had
been poor, but Aristide made them feel safe, and he made them
proud to be Haitians.
Along with freezing Haitian assets here and declaring a commer-
cial embargo on Haiti, we should be likewise committed at a hu-
manitarian level to temporarily providing a safe haven for those
Haitians who seek it. Mr. Chairman, the President should declare
an immigration emergency so that the $35 million immigration
emergency fund authorized by section 113 of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act of 1986 may be used to finance the trans-
port and stay of these currently cutter-housed desperate refugees.
That was one of the uses envisioned by me and by you when I in-
troduced this legislation which this committee and Congress ap-
Let us immediately get away from a policy of adhering to an
interdiction agreement that we made 10 years ago with the brutal
Duvalier regime who has now been deposed and is currently living
in exile, in luxury, I might add, in the south of France. We should
allow the Haitians in and give them a safe haven in a nonprison-
type facility, such as Homestead Air Force Base or other military
facilities, returning them to Haiti when it is safe and the situation
has stabilized. The temporary nature of it would be, hopefully,
fully explained and, I believe, fully sanctioned by the American
The way to do this is to have a policy which everyone can join in
and live with. These Haitians didn't come here when Aristide was
the President; they obviously don't want to leave Haiti. This means
that they obviously would want to go back when the time comes for
them to be able to do so safely. Meanwhile, the United States
should provide a place for them, a legitimately decent, safe place
for them to be protected temporarily and to give them safe refuge.
With the emergency immigration fund available-fully funded-ob-
viously what would happen is that we would be able to have a
funded policy, money already available, and a policy joined in by
the vast majority of the people of the United States.
You have heard from our dear friend, the chairman of the For-
eign Affairs Committee, about the long-term realities of what you
are attempting to do. Having worked on this committee and this
subcommittee for many years, obviously I am fully aware of that,
and this hearing will eventually address those issues, but the issue
that is currently at hand on such a desperate emergency basis
needs to be addressed first.
I want to address also the preparedness, or lack thereof of our
Government for another Mariel-type exodus of Cubans. As of No-
vember 12, the Coast Guard had intercepted 2,056 Cuban arrivals
by boat or raft. Unfortunately, since the current mass immigration
contingency plan is classified, I cannot get into specifics in open
session, but I can tell you that the plan, classified or not, is unreal-
istic and probably ineffective. It fails to consider the facts that will
surround an expected immigration emergency which might origi-
nate in Cuba, and it assumes factors that are really not that pre-
sumable. It is a "plan" without a recognizable director in Washing-
ton to whom State and local officials can direct their concerns. Nei-
ther FEMA, DOJ, nor the White House appears to be "in charge"
of this contingency plan-somewhat similar to what Mr. Rangel
has indicated is the status of who is in charge of the current plan
dealing with the Haitians.
Coordination-so vital in Operation Desert Storm-appears to be
nonexistent in the contingency plan. Indeed, I doubt anybody in
Florida knows who or what would activate the plan. The plan all
but ignores voluntary agencies and private groups, not to mention
human nature. The plan assumes an unrealistically low number of
new arrivals, thereby ignoring the extra personnel and logistics
that would be needed to respond adequately to an influx.
The last version of the plan that I saw assumes no new addition-
al Federal funding which would be required to manage an influx of
new arrivals. Might I add at this juncture that Dade, Broward, and
other counties, including the State of Florida, have expended over
$400 million on regulations in the last 11 years and have yet to get
reimbursement for the large bulk of that money.
Anyone who lived through the events of 1980 in south Florida
knows that the assumption of no additional money is absurd. We
have incurred millions of dollars in unreimbursed expenses, as I in-
dicated, and it is ludicrous to draft a plan that involves the use of
thousands of Federal, State, and local government employees and
that fails to fund their use.
Unfortunately, based on my reading, the contingency plan envi-
sions that an immigration emergency would never occur. Why do I
say that? The plan does not even mention the emergency fund au-
thorized by section 113 of IRCA. Regretfully, I believe, the failure
to utilize the emergency fund is deliberate. The administration
never wanted this fund and has failed to provide guidelines to the
States that would seek reimbursement of appropriate expenses.
Mr. Chairman, the people of south Florida know that another
boat-lift could begin at any minute. Only the Bush administration
seems oblivious to this fact, as evidenced by the insufficient immi-
gration emergency contingency plan. I urge the administration, in
the limited time that we may have left to us, to work with the
State of Florida and all Floridians to develop a realistic and work-
able plan for dealing with the problem.
Let me just finally add something, as you mentioned the Cuban
Adjustment Act of 1966. The Cuban Adjustment Act is the law The
presumption of political asylee status is given to Cubans as they
come here. The law is 25 years old. You can't even make a compar-
ison between that and what is happening currently with the Hai-
tians, and no one should try, I don't believe; it is not appropriate.
By the same token, what is appropriate is to deal with how this
administration has dealt with, during its tenure, other crises of the
same nature and type as the one we are now faced with, with the
Haitians, and that would be to look only 2 years back at what hap-
pened with the Nicaraguans. They came from a country in econom-
ic turmoil and in political turmoil. They came through Mexico, ar-
rived on the borders of Texas, and were led into the United States.
They were given asylum applications; everybody filed, whether
they could qualify or not, and then they were all allowed to bleed
into the mainstream of this country. Most of them, frankly, wound
up in south Florida. We are not complaining. We have made a
home for them. They have been productive residents and may some
day become citizens as their applications are reviewed, which is
taking a very long time, I might add.
But, in any event, Mr. Chairman, one has to ask the question:
Why it is that we could, as a nation, out of the four corners of the
existing immigration law, allow the Nicaraguans in, with the tur-
moil in their own country exactly the same to a large degree as
exists now in Haiti-random violence, a chaotic government, a
despot at the till-and, at the same time refuse the Haitians and
allow for this policy, which is bankrupt in its workings because it is
basically generated from a 10-year-old treaty that it does dishonor
for us as a nation to honor.
That is the question to ask: Can we find a way to accommodate
the emergencies of people that find themselves in that emergency
and yet, at the same time, as Mr. McCollum has indicated, protect
the laws of the United States, show compassion, and, show that we
care about all of the problems that are attendant on these refugee
I think we can. I think the answer is temporary safe haven, paid
for by the Federal Government, with the understanding to those
given the safe haven, who are asking for it, that then when the
problem no longer exists in their own country, since they stayed
there when there was no problem, they obviously want to be back
again when there is no problem. I think that is at least the tempo-
rary solution for the Haitian problem.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you. That is a very good statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
STATEMENT OF REP. LARRY SMITH OF FLORIDA
Subcommittee on International Law, Immigration and Refugees
November 20, 1991
Mr. Chairman, this year, I seem to be spending nearly as
much time on this side of the dais as I spent up there with you
in my first year in the House.
I very much appreciate your holding this hearing on Cuban-
Haitian interdiction efforts by the U.S. Government. I need not
tell you that this situation dismays the people of South Florida.
I first want to address the interdiction of Haitians seeking
to enter this country.
I repeatedly have stated that we need a program that is both
fair and humane and that can be supported by the American people.
I joined a number of my colleagues in sending to the White House
a letter asking for temporary protected status (TPS) for these
Haitians. To date, we have received no response.
Mr. Chairman, the issue before us is a humanitarian one. I
want to repeat: humanitarian. Not political. Not racial. Too
many people remember what occurred more than fifty years ago when
this country refused to allow Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany
to disembark in the US. We cannot repeat this sorry episode in
South Floridians, and the entire Florida delegation in
fact, are very well acquainted with the tiny Caribbean nation of
Haiti and its wonderful people. For those among us who have not
had the pleasure to be associated with these great people, let
me say a few words.
The people of Haiti are forthright, sincere, and
hardworking. But, they are also star crossed. Unfortunately,
this has been the case for Haitians during the entire history of
their beleaguered republic -- the second oldest in this
hemisphere. The citizens of Haiti have experienced democracy
only for 7 months in their 200-year history. Their first and
rightful democratic leader is Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a man
who, unlike perhaps any other world leader today, truly
personifies the hopes and aspirations of his people.
A full 67 percent of the Haitian people freely and fairly
elected Mr. Aristide to office last December. They expressed
their hope in him. Not only would he end Haiti's sad distinction
of being this hemisphere's poorest country, but also he would put
an end to the state-sanctioned political persecution that has
historically racked Haiti. Anyone opposing the entrenched
forces of oppression in Haiti was sure to come under attack. Mr.
Aristide bravely took these forces on and nearly paid for it with
his life. In the hope that his struggle was not in vain, we have
joined in an international effort led by the OAS to rightfully
restore the legitimate government of Haiti.
I submit to all of you that our responsibility does not stop
short of humanitarian considerations. Frankly, it is that which
should control our policy. We also should do what we can to
help the people of Haiti who are fleeing political persecution in
Haiti. The provisional government acknowledges 300 dead, and
other observers claim that as many as 1,000 have died. According
to Amnesty International, a group of uniformed military men
seeking revenge for the death of a soldier entered the homes of
30 to 40 residents in Lamentin 54, a suburb of Port-au-Prince,
and gunned them down at close range. The soldiers then forced
other residents to dig mass graves and bury them. If these
instances do not constitute ruthless terror and political
persecution, I do not know what does.
We should remember that President Aristide has been the most
effective problem solver for our immigration problem with respect
to Haiti. How? He simply earned the trust and love of his
people. However bad things were economically during his seven-
month tenure, the Haitian people did not wish to leave. More
accurately, they did not feel compelled to escape. They may have
been poor, but Aristide made them feel safe and proud to be
Along with freezing Haitian assets here and declaring a
commercial embargo on Haiti, we should be likewise committed at a
humanitarian level to temporarily providing a safe haven for
those Haitians who seek it. The President should declare an
immigration emergency so that the $35 million Immigration
Emergency Fund authorized by section 113 of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act of 1986 may be used to finance the
transport and stay of these desperate refugees. That was one of
the uses envisioned by me when I introduced the legislation which
this committee and Congress approved.
Let us immediately get away from a policy of adhering to an
interdiction agreement that we made ten years ago with the brutal
Duvalier regime. We should allow them in and give them a safe
haven in a non-prison facility, returning them to Haiti only when
it is safe.
I now want to address the preparedness or lack thereof of
our government for another Mariel-type exodus of Cubans. As of
November 12, the Coast Guard had intercepted 2,056 Cuban arrivals
by boat or raft.
Unfortunately, since the current mass immigration
contingency "plan" is classified, I cannot get into specifics in
open session. But, I can tell you that the plan is unrealistic
and probably ineffective. It fails to consider the facts that
will surround an expected immigration emergency originating in
Cuba. It assumes factors that are presumable.
It is a "plan" without a recognizable director in
Washington to whom state and local officials can direct their
concerns. Neither FEMA, DOJ, nor the White House appears to be
"in charge" of the contingency.
Coordination--so vital in Operation Desert Storm--appears to
be non-existent; indeed, I doubt that anybody in Florida knows
what or who would activate the plan.
The plan all but ignores voluntary agencies and private
groups not to mention human nature.
The plan assumes an unrealistically low number of new
arrivals, thereby ignoring the extra personnel and logistics that
would be needed to respond adequately to an influx.
The last version that I saw assumes that no additional
federal funding would be required to manage an influx of new
Anybody who lived through the events of 1980 in South
Florida knows that this assumption is absolutely absurd. The
State of Florida and Dade County incurred millions of dollars of
unreimbursed expenses in the Mariel boatlift. It is ludicrous
to draft a plan that involves the use of thousands of federal,
state, and local government employees and that fails to fund
Unfortunately, based on my reading, the contingency plan
envisions that an "immigration emergency" NEVER would occur. Why
do I say it? The plan does not even mention the emergency fund
authorized by section 113 of IRCA. Regretfully, I believe that
the failure to utilize the emergency fund is deliberate. The
administration never wanted this fund, and it has failed to
provide guidelines to the states that would seek reimbursement of
Mr. Chairman, the people of South Florida know that another
Mariel boatlift could begin at any moment. Only the Bush
Administration seems oblivious to this fact, as evidenced by this
insufficient immigration emergency contingency plan.
I urge the Administration, in the limited time that we may
have left to us, to work with the State of Florida and all
Floridians to develop a realistic and workable plan for dealing
with this problem.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I might say, the gentleman and I talked during the
August recess, as a matter of fact, about this very problem, so the
gentleman's contact with it has been steady and consistent.
I would like for the record to note that our distinguished col-
league, the senior member of our full Judiciary Committee, the
gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers, has joined us and has con-
sented to sit with the panel as long as his time permits.
We would, before getting to your statement, John-and I believe
our next two colleagues came in the same class; I think they are
classmates. I think you came in the 98th Congress. Is that correct?
Anyway, taking them in alphabetical order, L is a little bit earli-
er than O, so maybe we will start with Tom and then go to Major.
Mr. FASCELL. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to put in
the record with my remarks-the editorial from the Miami Herald
of November 20, 1991, which is headlined: "Stop Haitian Interdic-
tion." It not only gives the background on the issue at hand but
also makes some pertinent, cogent suggestions which I believe
merit the review of this committee.
Mr. MAZZOLI. It certainly will be made a part of the record, and I
intend to read that before the day is over.
[The editorial follows:]
DICK NELLIUS 3058566779
Stop Haitian interdiction!
IT SEEMS incredible to have to be say-
ing anew, more than a decade later,
what The Herald first said in Septem-
ber 1981, when the Reagan Administration
first began stopping boatloads of Haitians.
This interdiction of Haitians and only of
these black people, no other is racist. It
is immoral, a deal struck with.a Duvalier
devil. It shames this great nation. It must
To no other people except this hemi-
sphere's poorest, blackest nation does the
United States, beacon of liberty, give not
just its back but the back of its hand. To no
other people does Washington say: "We
have placed an economic embargo against
those who usurped your government, but
we will not let you flee its consequences."
Search the Judeo-Christian ethic from
topmast to keel, and you'll find no moral jus-
tification for this interdiction policy. It
hangs like an albatross, dead these 10 years
and two months, around the Statue of Lib-
erty. It turns her stomach.
But not the Bush Administration's. On
Monday, the Bush heirs of the Reagan pol-
icy began returning to Haiti the first of
some 2.000 Haitians interdicted at sea.
Yesterday Federal Judge Donald Graham in
Miami halted the repatriation. He granted a
temporary restraining order requested by
the Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. (HRC) of
Miami. Bless you, Judge!
The HRC argues and the evidence
attests that forcibly returning the Hai-
tians violates the Refugee Act of 1980, the
1981 Presidential order implementing
interdiction, and the U.N.'s Universal Dec-
laration of Human Rights.
Let's examine the Darest figures. From
September 1981 to June 1991, more than
24,000 Haitians were interdicted. Only 28
- twenty-eight! were found eligible for
political asylum. Of the 2,000-plus Haitians
interdicted since the Sept. 30 coup, only 53
have been ruled eligible for asylum.
Only 53. Do no others have a well-
founded fear of persecution if returned to a
land whose rogue soldiers have killed hun-
dreds nobody knows the total since
overthrowing President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide? Or is 53 just a sampler? Given Hai-
ti's violence since Sept. 30, how many of
these boat people might be judged legiti-
mate political refugees if they had a full and
fair opportunity to make their case?
But these hearings cannot be fair,
because they cannot be full. Though longer
JUDGE HALTS REPATRIATION
than before, the hearings remain unduly
brief. The Haitians are frightened, often
seasick, probably unable to comprehend the
legal gravity of their interview with the INS
officers aboard the Coast Guard cutters. In
short, of all people who deserve due pro-
cess, these Haitians do.
But they are black. They are poor. They
are powerless. Because Haitians are black,
and poor, and powerless, the U.S. Govern-
ment sends its ships near their island and
stuffs them back when they try to flee.
Some argue that interdiction is piracy.
No nation owns the high seas. No nation has
the right, outside its own territorial waters,
to stop foreign vessels and force foreign cit-
izens to go where they wish not to go.
But Washington struck this interdiction
deal with the Duvalier despots. So it is not
piracy, one supposes. It's only Faustian,
The chaos in Haiti is going to get worse
before it gets better. In order to cleanse its
own conscience and play by its own rules,
the United States must stop this interdic-
tion. Then it should treat Haitians as it
would treat any other nationality. It should:
Allow Haitians the human right to
leave their country and to sail wherever the
current carries them. If some perish, and
some surely will, they do so as free people
making free choices.
Haitians reaching U.S. shores should
be given full due-process rights, not a h4r-
ried, truncated shipboard hearing.
Haitians who can show a well-founded
fear of persecution should be granted asy-
lum. Those who cannot should be returned
home, like any other illegal alien found ineli-
gible for asylum.
As the number of Haitians granted
asylum increases, as it inevitably will,
Washington must recognize that South
Florida's counties cannot be expected to
foot the bill for the consequences of U.S.
policy. We've paid Washington's bills for too
long. The White House must stand ready to
send refugee-aid funds to this area.
If the White House won't halt this inter-
diction voluntarily, it invites Judge Graham
to rule that the result of interdiction -
repatriation is illegal as now done. Illegal
or not, it is racist and immoral.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Tom, do you want to give your statement, and then
we will take a break for the vote and come back, or would you
rather that we vote now and come back?
Mr. LEWIS. I would rather vote now and come back.
Mr. MAZZOLI. All right. With that, the subcommittee will stand
in recess until we go vote, and we will come right back.
Mr. MAZZOLI. The subcommittee will come to order, and we will
resume where we suspended a moment ago with Tom Lewis, our
friend from Florida.
Tom, you may proceed. Your statement, as Mr. Owens', will be
made a part of the record.
STATEMENT OF HON. TOM LEWIS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. McCollum, and
the rest of the subcommittee for your foresight in reviewing this
problem and bringing this hearing forth.
Over recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic disintegration
of the political and economic infrastructure of both Cuba and Haiti.
This drastic decline has brought refugees to Florida's shores en
masse. We have seen them arrive from Cuba and Haiti on over-
crowded boats, makeshift rafts, inner tubes, and basically anything
that will float, and even with illegal hucksters that bring them
close to shore and throw them overboard.
Oftentimes, the only possessions these refugees have are the ones
that they carry with them. Therein lies the problem that confronts
the social and economic structure of south Florida, Mr. Chairman,
and the people of south Florida, I've got to point out very strongly,
are compassionate, concerned, they understand, and are sympa-
thetic toward the Haitian's problems. The Federal law requires the
State to extend basic medical, educational, and social programs to
these refugees when they hit our shores.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government refuses to address the
powers with which it is vested through the U.S. Constitution. The
Federal Government has exclusive responsibility for the area of im-
migration and its related products. It does not appear that we have
learned any lessons from the Mariel boat-lift or any other immigra-
tion influxes that America has faced over the past decade.
Mr. Chairman, we are always apprehensive in south Florida. We
know that these potential boat-lift and refugee problems can
happen from the south. They have happened over the years and
will probably continue to happen in the future, and we feel it is
high time we had a policy that would address the situation.
Since 1982, excluding the over 150,000 Cubans and Haitians
brought to Florida during the Mariel boat-lift in 1980 and 1981,
almost 410,000 immigrants have been granted permanent residen-
cy, naming Florida as their intended home. This number does not
include the refugees who have come to Florida illegally and have
not attempted to apply for any type of status.
During this same period, we have seen a drastic decline in the
amount of Federal dollars given to Florida to offset expenses in-
curred through their refugee programs. Federal funds have de-
creased from $53.2 million in fiscal year 1983 to $33 million in
fiscal year 1990. In addition, Florida is still owed $150 million from
expenses incurred during the Mariel boat-lift.
Let me dispel a belief currently held by many Members of Con-
gress and the administration, the belief that States are not finan-
cially impacted by immigration policy. Immigration, legal or ille-
gal, does impact State and local governments as well as local enti-
ties. Just ask the Jackson Memorial Medical Center administrator
whose hospital has provided services to over 140,000 refugees from
Cuba and Haiti since 1982. Ask the school district administrators
who must find Spanish-speaking teachers in order to accommodate
the influx of school-age refugees knocking on their doors. Ask the
local religious and volunteer organizations that attempt to meet
the basic human needs of these refugees and their families.
I want to make it clear that I sympathize with the plight of the
Haitian refugees attempting to flee the persecution of their repres-
sive government. Unfortunately, our lack of a sound policy con-
cerning mass immigration is evidenced in the fact that we have
roughly 1,500 Haitian refugees-bless their souls-on U.S. Coast
Guard cutters off the coast of Florida. Until the administration and
Congress properly address the instances of mass immigration, Mr.
Chairman, such as our current Haitian situation or the imminent
return of another Mariel boat-lift, Florida cannot continue to
shoulder the burden of future refugees.
Mr. Chairman, I was elected to represent the U.S. citizens of the
12th District of Florida. Unfortunately, the influx of refugees has
strained access to programs such as health care, education, hous-
ing, and numerous vital programs that citizens of my district sup-
port with their tax dollars. Until we face the facts regarding the
impact of immigration on the United States, Americans who
depend on these programs will continue to be shortchanged.
And I want to caution this committee with respect to future leg-
islation that may appear to make positive changes in immigration
policy but in turn has devastating impacts on the citizens of this
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity and certainly
want to endorse most of what my colleagues prior to me have
stated about this Haitian situation, but I do believe that we do
have to have a policy that will be forthwith when we have these
types of problems arise. They are going to arise, we know they are
going to happen, they have happened in the past 20-30 years, they
are going to continue to happen.
Every time there is unrest to the south, people in the south-
South America, Haiti, Cuba, and other places in the Caribbean-
look to the United States, and, when they do, they look to south
Florida. That is where they feel the United States is; that is where
they have friends; that is where they have family.
Mr. Chairman, we need some relief, and we are asking this sub-
committee to take a look at this.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much, Tom.
It is very true, there are a lot of things the State of Florida can
control for itself, but it cannot control immigration, and it there-
fore ought not to bear the biggest burden of paying for it.
One of the earlier witnesses mentioned the fact of the need to
consider all the States as part of the solution, not just single out
the one State.
Mr. LEWIS. Absolutely.
Mr. MAZZOLL It is a two-tiered problem here, you have different
levels, and that is certainly one of them.
We are happy to have your statement, and we are also happy
now to welcome Major Owens, the gentleman from New York.
STATEMENT OF HON. MAJOR R. OWENS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. OWENS. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I want to join my colleagues in
thanking you for holding these timely hearings.
I represent the 12th Congressional District in New York, which
has the second largest concentration of Haitians in this country. I
will not take the full 5 minutes; I don't want to be redundant and
repeat what my colleagues have said. There are representatives of
the administration here, and I think the administration should
have maximum time to state clearly what the policy is that they
are pursuing in this particular case.
The impression has been given that they are pursuing a David
Duke policy where special standards have been set up for the Hai-
tians because they are black. I would like to see them correct that
impression by stating clearly what the policy is at this point.
The best way not to have the problem that has been placed on
our doorstep by this current wave of Haitians trying to leave is to
have a policy where we support unequivocally the democracy and
the democratic process in Haiti. It is quite clear, I don't think any-
body disputes the fact, that the number of Haitians seeking to
leave the country and get into this country went down almost to
zero during the period after Aristide was elected by 70 percent of
the people who came out to vote.
If it is economic hardship that they are fleeing, then something
happened after the election of Aristide. Hope maybe is what kept
people at home, but the number of people trying to escape greatly
decreased, which means that our best and most effective way of
solving the problem is to support the democratic process in Haiti.
In New York City, there were 80,000 Haitians who demonstrated
after the military junta had thrown Aristide out of the country.
Many of the people who demonstrated were not necessarily sup-
porters of Aristide, some were critics, but they were supporters and
came out in solidarity for a democratic process. Whatever disagree-
ments they may have with the current Government of Haiti, they
feel that if there is a democratic process and it is supported, they
can take the necessary steps to correct it.
There is a reign of terror in Haiti now, without a doubt. One of
the people who was murdered was a constituent of mine, a Haitian
American, an American citizen, who went back after Aristide was
elected and started a disco business, and because his name hap-
pened to similar to somebody else's name, he was mistakenly
dragged out of bed and slain by Haitian soldiers as a result of their
seeking somebody who did have political connections.
In many cases, people are shot down in the street merely to
make a point, merely to break their spirit. They have no political
position whatsoever. So the people who are fleeing are fleeing a
reign of terror, and the line between economic refugees and politi-
cal refugees is very thin indeed. Whatever they may say, among
the reasons they are fleeing obviously is the fact that the terror
has escalated in the last few months following the deposition of
Given the fact that a series of U.S. Governments have had a
hand in creating Haiti's puppet civilian regimes in the past and
military regimes, and they have supported them, given them mili-
tary aid and training, we have a special obligation toward the Hai-
tian refugees. We have not allowed any other country to have a
dominant role in the affairs of Haiti. We have always insisted that
the United States must dominate the affairs of Haiti. Therefore, we
have this special responsibility. They are the harvest the years of
misguided U.S. policy toward Haiti has reaped; the refugees are
the harvest of that policy. They are the result of our Government's
winking or looking the other way as Haiti's dictators oppressed
their own people and plundered the resources of their own country,
often with our Government's assistance.
We must change our Haitian immigration policy, immediately
suspend the deportations and exclusions, and give Haitian refugees
what we give any other refugees, temporary protected status, until
the current crisis in Haiti is resolved, and Aristide must be re-
stored to his rightful place as the country's President. We must de-
nounce our policy which appears to be a David Duke immigration
policy, a policy which says, in effect, there are special standards for
Haitians because they are black and only whites need apply for
asylum in this country.
I thank you for the opportunity to testify, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I thank the gentleman, and I appreciate the return
of our friend from New York, Mr. Rangel.
Let me just yield myself a couple of minutes for some comments.
I thank you. I think this panel has had some of the best testimony
that we have ever received and, I hope through the dissemination
process, that the Nation has ever received on this issue of the prob-
lems of Haiti, singular as they might be but then also as they are
applicable to the whole problem of movement of people from one
place to the other-and the gentleman from New York reflected
that in his statement particularly-and the fact that we have tiers
of problems here. We have a first tier, and we have a second tier,
and probably even a third tier, and I think it is important to keep
those tiers in mind. Some may be harder to deal with, and some
may be perhaps intractable.
But one area I think can be dealt with, and dealt with promptly,
and doesn't need major, major activity in a broad base, and that is
those people currently on board the cutters in the Windward Pas-
sage or wherever, currently the people who are at Guantanamo. If
I might ask my friend from New York, Mr. Rangel, perhaps he
might give this committee a few words about his bill, H. Con. Res.
220, and how he might see this as dovetailing into a broader pro-
gram dealing with this first-tier activity of the people who are cur-
rently at sea. As Chairman Rangel is one of our noted legal people
too, how we might handle the judge's order, which we applaud but,
at the same time, don't want to leave as more or less people just
circling or staying on board the ship. At some point, those people
currently on board the cutters have to be dealt with in a more fun-
damental way than they are being dealt with now.
So I would ask my friend to just sort of share a few thoughts
with me on that.
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be brief and will
be glad to follow through with other questions.
Let me deal with the last part of your question first, and that is
the people on the ship. I think, as you do and others, that this is an
emergency and one that requires the direct hand of leadership of
the President of the United States. This is human life. We cannot
talk about treaties with Duvalier, we cannot talk about political,
economic, we are talking about human life. We are talking particu-
larly about human life that is on Coast Guard cutters.
It would seem to me that, notwithstanding the difficulty that
some people have in absorbing these 2,000, or perhaps 3,000 now,
Haitians into the U.S. population, that, at the very least, we should
ask friendly countries to assume some responsibility-and that in-
cludes the poor countries in the region, with us providing the re-
sources for them to be able to do the right thing-as you know, the
hearings and my legislation dealt with a situation that did not
even perceive that the United States would take the people on the
boats and return them to the dangers that exist in Haiti, and so
what I am saying is that, one, we should not deport Haitians to
this war-torn zone with these heathen type of military people there
that have a reputation of shooting down anyone that disagrees
Mr. MAZZOLI. We start off with the premise then, Congressman
Rangel, that we should not return any of the Haitians to Haiti
right now. That is the bottom line.
Mr. RANGEL. And the way I see it is, any place but Haiti. Of
course, I think that we can absorb them here; we can get a thou-
sand points of light; we can get the Red Cross, the churches, and
the synagogues. We are not talking about Miami and New York as-
The question of how they are taken care of this time in the
year-I could take a leave of absence and direct that. It is just the
right thing to do. The President has nothing to fear except doing
the right thing, and by doing this, he would encourage these small-
er countries, who are now saying, "You are asking us to accept a
standard and accepting people that you don't accept." The hypocri-
sy in asking a small country to take an "economic" refugee, but we
will screen and only take the political refugee-there is no sense in
that at all.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Will the gentleman, who is my friend and congres-
sional classmate and near-neighbor here in Rayburn, be interested
this afternoon in the two of us trying to place a call to the Presi-
dent and perhaps in a joint conference or perhaps request a chance
to sit with the President for a few moments today or tomorrow to
talk with him about this issue?
Mr. RANGEL. I would welcome that.
Unfortunately, I wasn't present in my office, I was in committee,
when the President did return my call yesterday. I did talk with
John Sununu. He indicated that he is working with the State De-
partment in trying to find some solution that is more compatible.
I would welcome that opportunity.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I think I might try to pursue that. It may be, since
Governor Sununu has said that, perhaps three or four could meet
and talk, and others as well, to maybe try to find a solution. I
thank the gentleman, and I will follow up on that.
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you for your leadership and sensitivity on
this issue, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you.
My time has expired.
The gentleman from Oregon-if the gentleman from Oregon
would yield to the gentleman from Michigan, who has been with us
for a while-
Mr. KOPETSKI. I would be glad to yield.
Mr. MAZZOLI. My friend from Michigan, John Conyers-John,
you are welcome to stay with us for whatever time you have today.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much.
I need only to commend you and my colleagues from New York,
both Mr. Rangel and Mr. Owens, for us moving with such dispatch
on this subject.
I am sensitive to the fact that we are operating against the back-
drop of a history of discrimination in immigration policy toward
this country, and what we are now faced with is an emergency on
top of that history. The point now is, how do we move expeditious-
We are now talking about getting to President Bush, having him
make the proper resolution of this matter. This is an emergency
circumstance, and I think it will set the pattern for other countries
to help us share the load, so that this matter of proceeding in a
way that reverses history I think will keep hope alive.
Aristide's election was a historic decision that was made by the
Haitian people. They chose to democratically elect one of their
own, a person who was a noncandidate almost up until the last
minute. What we need to do here is to move as quickly as we can,
and I think this committee, the witnesses, and the Congress will do
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
The gentleman from Oregon.
Mr. KOPETSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I concur in the
statements my colleague from Michigan has made.
In reading about the Coast Guard having to process these people,
I think we need to recognize that we have put them in a difficult
position as well. But I couldn't help but think that the way the
Haitian people are being treated, it was almost no different than a
fish processing ship out there in the ocean, sorting the "keepers"
from the ones that we don't want.
I find this, and I think the American people find this, just repre-
hensible, the policy that we have. We represent freedom, and we
represent a safe harbor, and the gentleman from Michigan is right,
that there are other countries that would help us help these people
in their time of great need. I think we can show and demonstrate
to the American people that the Congress and the administration
can act quickly in a humanitarian sense to help these people that
are so distressed.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I thank the gentleman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kopetski follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. MICHAEL J. KOPETSKI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Mr. Chairman, America has been a safe harbor for the
world's oppressed peoples since the first colonists arrived on
these shores. Moreover, our national policy of welcome to
the homeless of the world has served our country and our
traditions well. It was not without good cause that France
chose to give to the United States on the centennial
anniversary of our independence in 1876 the Statue of Liberty
with its famous inscription:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of
your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden
But, in the case of Haiti, we are running away from our
heritage. Personal whim, not law or fact, appears to be
influencing the establishment of eligibility for asylum.
Between 1981 and 1990, 22,940 Haitians were interdicted
at sea by the United States. Only eleven qualified for asylum.
From January to October of this year, the U.S. has
interdicted approximately 1,900 Haitians at sea; only 20 were
allowed to apply for asylum.
Of the 2,458 refugees we have interdicted since the
September 30th coup, 1,920 Haitians are aboard Coast Guard
cutters or being held at Guantanamo Naval Base. Only 53
have been transported to the U.S. for asylum consideration--
but 538 have been forcibly repatriated.
Traditionally, U.S. foreign policy has always treated
Haitians as economic migrants, not victims of persecution.
And so far, even in this post coup period, we have not
adjusted our policy or approach to the plight of Haitians.
It is interesting to note that Haiti is the only country with
which the U.S. has a migrant interdiction agreement. The
President and our Organization of American States partners
believe the consequences of the coup are serious enough to
warrant an embargo, but apparently not serious enough to
warrant a humane change to our treatment of fleeing
I believe the handling of the Haitian situation will
warrant a hard look at a legislative remedy to the manner in
which our asylum policies are being carried out when
Congress takes up reauthorization of the Refugee Act next
Mr. MAZZOLI. I think it ought to be noted that temporary protect-
ed status is a condition which is in the law, and it is currently
being exercised in behalf of Liberians, Somali, people from Leba-
non, people from Kuwait, so it is not exactly as if this has never
been utilized or exercised.
Mr. KOPETSKI. Mr. Chairman, if you will yield, you know with
the Iraqi war situation, we have some Kuwaits and Iraqis settled in
North Carolina today.
Mr. MAZZOLI. That is right.
I think also the gentleman and I, if we are able to visit with the
President, or talk with him together today, ought to commend him
on what he did very recently to extend for 4 years the safe harbor
granted to the Palestinians who are in the United States, who
came from Kuwait, who can't go back home for obvious reasons,
and I think it was wonderful on his part. I saluted him, and I think
all of us doff our fedora to him for having done that. That was
done in his capacity as chief executive; it is an executive fiat; it is
one that receives wide acclaim. But even if a person would have
objected to it, there would be no way to object to it in any official
way. You can't reject that handling in any legal sense.
So the President is certainly capable, has the authority to exer-
cise that same kind of executive fiat in behalf of these people, and I
think that it could be done, and I think it ought to be very impor-
tant that no one of us is oblivious to the fact that the second-tier
and the third-tier problems also have to be dealt with, and that is
where we have to get OAS people, the United Nations, we have to
As the gentleman from New York said in a very eloquent way,
that is the way the President handled Desert Storm and Desert
Shield, by being the leader of an organization, a coalition of na-
tions, and all of us bore a share of it. I can see the same kind of
result coming out in this hemisphere for these people. Maybe this
is the new world order that we have been hearing about. Maybe
this is the way the new world order will be handled in regional
ways, in matters not on a war and battlefield, but in the sense of
dealing with human deprivation, and human misery, and human
danger, and human fear, and I think if that is the case, well,
maybe that is a very welcome new world order; maybe that is a
halcyon moment for the world and for this Nation as its leader.
So, anyway, I think we have every opportunity to help the Presi-
dent in the longer run problems even as he can now, in a very
quick way take care of these people.
So I want to thank our friends-both of you-and you are wel-
come to sit with us if you wish.
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to say to Mr. Kopetski that I agree with what he
said, and the Coast Guard doesn't need me really to give support.
But they are dedicated men and women. They have really done the
best they could. It is the Immigration people who are doing the in-
terrogation. They are dedicated. They find themselves in this awk-
ward and embarrassing position, and I hope one of the things that
comes out of this hearing is who put them in this position, whose
policy is it, so at least we will know whom to go to, to possibly get
an explanation for this inhumane decision that has been made.
That is why I welcome the Chair going to the ultimate source,
which is the President of the United States, to assist us in turning
back this policy, and I thank you for your comments. I would like
to join you.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much.
Before we move to our next panel, I would like to put in the
record, first, the temporary restraining order which Judge Graham
issued yesterday in those cases to which we have referred; and I
would also like to put in the record-I don't have it in front of me
at the moment, but there is a letter that was served on us by the
American Bar Association in which they urge the grant of tempo-
rary protected status to the Haitians. Here it is. It is a letter, actu-
ally, to Mr. Barr, who is Acting Attorney General, to designate
Haiti as a country for temporary protected status, citing the law
and the background of the law. I think implicit in this is to consid-
er a Coast Guard cutter part of the United States for the purpose
of deciding when these prescreening applications will be taking
[The restraining order and letter follow:]
a 'd OC'Ie IB Bt1/11 '
tNITVD STATES DISTRICT CqYWR.
BOUTBaH DXXGTRICT OP 'FiOWA
Caae eo. 91-2633-:V-ATRXZ
HAMILAN REPUZGH CBNTS, INC., a not-
J.AMEB AxAR, III, Secretary (
Sthta, tXAR ADMIRAL ROBMRT XPWIAKM,
and ADCIRAL IMS, Conmmand&ant
United states coast Guard, 0RE
HoMAMY, Comvsir onett Immigrttion
and Saturallsation Servies, t
UNXTZD StATZ8 DZPARTMBNT Or JUSTICE ,
Immigrat on and Haturaliz&t fn
Service, and the UNITED TATES O
TnfPORARY RESlV RAItIN ORDBR
TraB CAU6S came before the Court upon Plaintiff'# eqrienC:
application for a temporary raetratning order to prevent DferngaAi
froi rotorning to taL4t4, Haitians nntorooptod and/or in the oare:
custody and control of the United .tatea CoOt Guard, Preoentlyi
the llaitian are beLng dotainod on the high soas and at the Uli,
Coast Guard mBao at Ouantanamo Bay, Cuba,
TUM cou'r has considered th, option argument of oounsel ota
tho pertinent portions of the record, and bpInng othorwise full
advyisd in the premises, it is hae;by
ORDER D AND ADJUIDED that thv said Application is GRYkN .,
Defendants are precluded from ooqtinuing to repatriate (litl~n*
E 'd eEi! 'B/6wit 0i
Page 2 UNITED 8TATES DISTRICT COURT
80VTABRi DIXTRtCT O FLMil)D4
currently on board U.S.- flagged vessels and Haitians oproptly
being held on land under United States' control and at OuantavMao
Bay, Cuba until further order, to maintain the staples ua
Due to the importance of the etters presented and tha )s gent
ciroumstances surrounding this case, additional oo0ids atio, on
the issue of standing is oxtioe). Therefore, It is further
.OkUDoD AND ADJUDGD that intiff's oonaa l hall, within
five (S) days from the date of thip Order, file a memorandum if aew
diaoueuing whether Plaintift has standing to file suit oi behaft
of the taitians that have been intercepted by tle United Stiate
Coast Ouard, and addressing the following elements required for-t ~
isa'noe of a temporary restraining orderly
1. that there is a substantial
likelihood that Plaintiff will
prevail on merits
2. that there is a substantial threat
that Plaintiff will suffer
irreparable uijur. 1 the injunction
is not granted;
3. that threatened injury to Plaintiff
outwaigha threaOened harm the
injuhotion may do to Defer.dantp and
4. that granting prelSminary injunction
will het diracyvo tho public
&iLtian Bfcuge0 Center., r..sonB 720 1$53, 1$611512
(llth Cir, 1909) (listing factor for granting injunotive relie)i,
A f,.d, II1 8. Ct. 888 (1991). Defendants shall file A reply
~r.oorandum or law within two (2) days of the filing of PlaintiftC'
S'd oilOl r 'P O' I.1 16/ 1i/'11 ':
Page 3 UWITEBD TATRB Di'daCT COURT
SOUT Eet DISTRICT oF lORAD&
memorandum. The Court will thon d&terminme the a*ppropriateneos oS
granting coMntuing or further injunotive relief.
DOqM ANID ORflERED in Chambe>r 4t Miai, Florida, thl
of November, 1991.
DO NKE B '0. -
UNITD STATES DISTRICT JUDGO
tra J, KurZban, Eeq.
Doxtor Leeg AUSA
oVERNMSNTlr AmMIs AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION Governmental Affairs Office
s 1800 M Street. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
ao. 0 lev. (202) 331-2200
SENIOR LECISLTIVE COUN L
SNovember 18, 1991
Afort SClNEINSON M
oA~~"oSE Hon. William J. Barr
L.tc,,.k Acting Attorney General
oS&nr.'1 Department of Justice
L'"t Washington, D.C. 20530
CFY D, ol- .
io lSolrr Dear Mr. Attorney General:
_'' As we witness the momentous growth of democratic ideals and
iNi institutions abroad, recent events in Haiti provide a tragic
SITELCISTIi reminder of how fragile democracy may be. In a matter of
e.o1s.AI.n weeks, at least three hundred lives have been lost and an
n uncertain number of Haitians have been imprisoned, gone into
L .T hiding, or fled the country. Now that the international
'I.on C community has imposed sanctions, the health and welfare of the
coUCNT entire nation is imperiled by deteriorating economic
c. conditions. Meanwhile, Haitians who have fled to the United
States for safety fear they may be forced to return to Haiti
before peace and constitutional order are restored.
In view of this deepening crisis, the American Bar Association
urges you in your capacity as acting Attorney General to
designate Haiti as a country for Temporary Protected Status.
We believe such recognition will help ensure that Haitians who
have reached the United States are provided physical safety
and given the same treatment that our nation currently extends
to Kuwaitis, Lebanese, Liberians, Salvadorans and Somalians.
The Immigration Act of 1990 authorizes the Attorney General to
grant safe haven status to nationals from countries
experiencing war, natural disaster or other extraordinary
conditions that endanger physical safety. As you know, the
TPS law does not create an admissions program and does not
modify the refugee, asylum or withholding of deportation
provisions. The statute only permits nationals from
designated states who are already in the United States, but
who may not fit the textbook definition of "refugee" or
"asylee", to remain and work until they can safely return
home, provided they register and meet the other eligibility
requirements. This framework is intended to provide
sufficient flexibility and the necessary authority to respond
swiftly to changing world developments. We believe that
conditions in Haiti are so "extraordinary" to warrant
immediate designation. Even under a best-case scenario,
conditions in that country are not likely to permit the safe
repatriation of Haitians for the foreseeable future. In the
meantime, Haitians in this country should be treated with
dignity and compassion.
While TPS is the appropriate remedy for individuals already in
the United States, we also have concerns for those who have
risked their lives but not yet reached our shores. We
understand from news accounts that at least 38 Haitians on
coast guard cutters at sea have been preliminarily identified
as potential refugees yet have not been allowed to apply for
asylum. In our judgment, those individuals should immediately
be permitted to apply for asylum pursuant to international
agreements and established INS procedures.
Furthermore, we understand that the INS "pre-screening"
interviews taking place on the Coast Guard cutters lack normal
procedural protections to ensure that eligible refugees are
not erroneously rejected. If such individuals are taken to
camps in third countries, as has been proposed, they will be
precluded from proving that they do qualify for asylum. We
note that the U.S. treats no other group of potential refugees
in the manner proposed for the Haitians, and that about 2000
Cuban rafters have been paroled into the United States so far
In conclusion, we are aware that the Administration is deeply
troubled by the situation in Haiti and is developing a
response to those who flee. We urge you to grant TPS to
Haitians who are fortunate to be in the United States and to
give all Haitians in U.S. custody a meaningful opportunity to
demonstrate their eligibility for asylum.
Robert D. Evans
cc: James A. Baker III, Secretary of State
J. William Kime, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
Mr. MAZZOLI. Let me now ask to come forward Ambassador
Robert Gelbard, who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Latin America of the Department of State, who will be accom-
panied by Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Director of the Refugee
Bureau, Department of State; then the Honorable Gene McNary,
the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
who will be accompanied by Rex Ford, Associate Deputy Attorney
General, Department of Justice, and Ricardo Inzunza, Deputy Com-
missioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and then
Adm. William P. Leahy, Jr., the Chief of the Office of Law Enforce-
ment and Defense Operations of the U.S. Coast Guard Headquar-
Thank you very much, gentlemen.
Mr. Ambassador, I am aware of your discommodation. If you
have to leave, or if you wish to leave after Mr. McKinley-what-
ever is in your pleasure-but we would start with you.
All the statements will be made a part of the record, and I will
be forced to use the clock a little bit today in order that we try to
keep our statements to 5 minutes in order that our panel have a
chance to answer questions.
So I would start with you, Mr. Ambassador, and thank you very
much for joining us.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT S. GELBARD, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY AS-
SISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTER-AMERICAN AF-
FAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, ACCOMPANIED BY BRUNSON
McKINLEY, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE,
BUREAU OF REFUGEE PROGRAMS
Mr. GELBARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the com-
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to go through part of my
statement, particularly the part that deals with Haiti.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Yes. And the current part-again, not to try to
prompt you in your statement in any fashion, because the context
is very important, but, the committee is interested in the current
events, or if you want to say the first tier, which is the emergency
problem. What to do with the people who are currently on the
boats? What the State Department can or can't do there? How can
we encourage furtherance of democracy? What happens to the
Aristide government? How can OAS perhaps be a force to play a
role in that?
So that would be a long-term solution, but we have two tier prob-
lem, and I think the first tier would be the part-so let me give
you back your 5 minutes.
Mr. GELBARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In the aftermath of the military coup which took place on Sep-
tember 30, we have been working with the nations of the Organiza-
tion of American States and other nations in the world in an effort
to restore the democratic Government of Haiti led by President
We have a standing agreement with the Government -of Haiti
which permits us to rescue at sea Haitians who are intending to
immigrate to the United States and to return to Haiti those who
lack a basis for asylum. This agreement was reached in 1981 to
give the Haitian and American Governments a mutually accepta-
ble way of dealing with the regular flow of Haitians who seek to
come illegally to the United States for economic reasons.
When President Aristide was forced from office, we expected that
an exodus of Haitians might occur immediately in response to that
political crisis, but it did not occur. From the time President Aris-
tide left Haiti on September 30 until October 28, the Coast Guard
found no boats with Haitians coming to the United States. On Oc-
tober 28, the cutter Steadfast picked up a boat with 19 Haitians
aboard. The next boat came on November 4, and the flow has
greatly increased since then.
As of yesterday, November 19, we had picked up nearly 2,200
Haitians. I believe the number has increased to 2,800 as of today.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 2,800, Mr. Ambassador, as of today?
Mr. GELBARD. Yes, sir.
Seven of these boats had over 100 Haitians on board. None of
these crafts was over 40 feet in length. For example, on November
14 the cutter Confidence interdicted a 40-foot sailing vessel with
238 Haitians. This boat was not designed for use on the high seas.
It was severely overloaded, carried no life jackets, no flares, radio,
beacons, charts, navigational equipment-in short, not equipped to
survive the voyage it intended to make. This was typical of the con-
ditions on these boats, any of which could easily have capsized in
In responding to this extremely difficult situation, our overriding
concern has been to save lives. We have taken the following factors
into account. In keeping with the intent of the United States-Hai-
tian Immigration Agreement, the interdiction program, and U.S.
law, we have an obligation to prevent an unimpeded flow of Hai-
tians to the United States. We want to rescue people from vessels
that put them at high risk of losing their lives at sea. We want to
ensure that those who have a well-founded fear of persecution, and
hence a good claim to asylum, are interviewed carefully, identified,
and brought to the United States. Above all, we want to avoid any
action that would encourage more Haitians to risk their lives by
boarding unsafe vessels in the belief that this would ensure them
passage to the United States.
At first, we sought a regional solution, and on November 8 we
began to work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the
International Organization for Migration, and countries through-
out the Caribbean region to see which countries might accept a
number of Haitians picked up by Coast Guard vessels. We had
hoped that a sufficient number of countries would accept these
people and that arrangements could be made for their temporary
safe haven under the auspices of the UNHCR.
Regrettably, after nearly 2 weeks of intense diplomacy with both
the United States and UNHCR canvassing the region, we have not
yet been able to elicit a sufficient number of positive responses
from the countries of the region. Many are already host to large
numbers of Haitians. For example, the Bahamas has 40,000 illegal
We will continue to pursue discussions with countries in the
region to arrange temporary safe haven for additional Haitians.
Yesterday in a meeting hosted by the OAS in Washington, the
UNHCR made a renewed appeal to countries in the region to
By the beginning of this week, we had 483 Haitians temporarily
ashore at our naval base in Guantanamo and over 1,200 on Coast
Guard vessels. Despite renewed warnings broadcast over the Voice
of America's Creole service beginning November 15 to urge Hai-
tians not to set sail, the numbers have been growing. Four coun-
tries-Honduras, Venezuela, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago-
have generously agreed to accept some refugees, but they would
only accept a total of 550.
It became clear that the regional safe haven solution was not
going to be sufficient to deal with the number of Haitians who
were leaving Haiti and another solution would have to be found.
As a result, we reluctantly reached a decision on Monday, Novem-
ber 18, to repatriate those Haitians on Coast Guard vessels, to
bring to the United States those Haitians who appear to qualify for
asylum, and to bring those at Guantanamo to regional countries
for temporary safe haven.
As of yesterday, 53 people have been brought to Miami to have
their asylum claims processed by INS and 538 have been repatriat-
ed to Haiti by the Coast Guard.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Mr. Ambassador, I am sorry to bother you, but the
time has expired. Do you think you could wrap up in about a
minute or so? I know it is asking almost the impossible to summa-
rize decades of travail into 5 minutes, but I think maybe some of
the questions will flesh out some of the very areas that you would
be dealing with.
Mr. GELBARD. Well, in sum, Mr. Chairman, we have pursued a
policy of looking for a regional solution to find temporary safe
haven for these refugees from Haiti.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gelbard follows:]
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UPON DELIVERY
Statement of Amb. Robert Gelbard
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
House Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on International Law, Immigration and Refugees
November 20, 1991
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:
I appreciate this opportunity to discuss our actions in
response to the recent exodus of Haitian boat people, and our
immigration policy toward Cuba.
The democratically elected government of Haiti was
usurped September 30 when elements of the Haitian military
drove President Aristide from office and forced him to leave
the country. Acting through the Organization of American
States, the nations of this hemisphere unanimously condemned
this attack on Haitian democracy, then voted on October 8 in
favor of a trade embargo until Haitian democracy is restored.
Within days of the coup, the United States cut off aid,
froze Haitian government assets, blocked financial transfers to
the Haitian regime and blocked exports to the Haitian military
and police. In the course of the month, we and our neighbors
in the OAS -- including Venezuela, Haiti's oil supplier --
proceeded to cut off our trade. The trade embargo is having a
clear impact: there is little traffic in the streets, there
are long lines for fuel and business activity is markedly down.
We have a standing agreement with the Government of Haiti
which permits us to rescue at sea Haitians who are intending to
emigrate to the United States and to return to Haiti those who
lack a basis for asylum. This agreement was reached in 1981 to
give the Haitian and U.S. governments a mutually acceptable way
of dealing with the regular flow of Haitians who seek to come
illegally to the United States for economic reasons.
When President Aristide was forced from office, we
expected that an exodus of Haitians might occur in response to
that political crisis. That did not occur. From the time
President Aristide left Haiti until October 28, the Coast Guard
found no boats with Haitians coming to the United States. On
October 28 the cutter Steadfast picked up a boat with 19
Haitians aboard. The next boat was found November 4, and the
flow has greatly increased since then.
As of November 19, we had picked up nearly 2200
Haitians. Seven of these boats had over 100 Haitians on board;
none of these craft was over 40 feet in length. For example,
on November 14 the cutter Confidence interdicted a 40-foot
sailing vessel with 238 Haitians aboard. This boat was not
designed for use on the high seas. It was severely
overloaded. It carried no life jackets, no flares, no radio,
no beacons, no charts, no navigational equipment -- in short,
51-225 0 92 3
it was not equipped to survive the voyage it intended to make.
This was typical of the conditions on these boats, any of which
could easily have capsized in rough seas.
In responding to this difficult situation, our overriding
concern has been to save lives. We have taken the following
factors into account:
In keeping with the intent of the U.S.-Haitian
immigration agreement, the interdiction program and
U.S. law, we have an obligation to prevent an
unimpeded flow of Haitians to the United States.
We want to rescue people from vessels that put them
at high risk of losing their lives at sea.
We want to ensure that those who have a
well-founded fear of persecution, and hence a good
claim to asylum, are interviewed carefully,
identified and brought to the United States.
Above all, we want to avoid any action that would
encourage more Haitians to risk their lives by
boarding unsafe vessels in the belief that this
would ensure them passage to the United States.
At first, we sought a regional solution. On November 8
we began to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration
and countries across the Caribbean region to see which
countries might accept a number of Haitians that had been
picked up by Coast Guard vessels. We had hoped that a
sufficient number of countries would accept these people, and
that arrangements could be made for their temporary safe haven
under the auspices of the UNHCR.
Regrettably, after nearly two weeks of intense diplomacy,
with both the United States and UNHCR canvassing the region, we
have not yet been able to elicit a sufficient number of
positive responses from the countries of the region. Many are
already host to large numbers of Haitians -- the Bahamas has
40,000 illegal Haitian immigrants, for example. We will
continue to pursue discussions with countries in the region to
arrange temporary safe haven for additional Haitians.
Yesterday at a meeting hosted by the OAS in Washington, the
UNHCR made a renewed appeal to countries in the region to
accept some Haitians.
By the beginning of this week, we had 483 Haitians
temporarily ashore at our naval base at Guantanamo and over
1200 on Coast Guard vessels. Despite renewed warnings
broadcast over the Voice of America's Creole service beginning
November 15 to urge Haitians not to set sail, the numbers were
growing. Four countries -- Honduras, Venezuela, Belize and
Trinidad and Tobago -- had generously agreed to accept some
refugees, but they would only accept a total of 550. It was
clear that the regional safe haven solution was not going to be
sufficient to deal with the number of Haitians who were leaving
Haiti, and another solution would have to be found.
As a result, we reluctantly reached a decision on Monday,
November 18 to repatriate those Haitians on Coast Guard
vessels, to bring to the United States those Haitians who
appear to qualify for asylum, and to bring those at Guantanamo
to regional countries for temporary safehaven. As of
yesterday, 53 have been brought to Miami to have their asylum
claims processed by INS and 538 have been repatriated to Haiti
by the Coast Guard. Today we expect that a number of Haitians
will begin to be transported from Guantanamo to Honduras and
Venezuela under UNHCR auspices. The repartiation has now been
suspended by court order. As long as that order remains in
effect, we expect it will encourage Haitians to continue to go
to sea in small, dangerous boats, and we fear it will lead to
loss of life.
This was a difficult set of circumstances that offered no
perfect solution. Given a range of difficult choices, we would
have preferred to arrange safe haven in the region for all the
Haitians, but the numbers of Haitians and the difficulty of
making those arrangements made it impossible to continue
pursuing that option alone. Under the circumstances, we
strongly believe we have made the right decision.
The Coast Guard has without any doubt saved
hundreds of lives by rescuing people from boats
that had only a minimal chance of reaching any
People who fled Haiti for political reasons and
fear political persecution are being identified
through careful interviews and brought to the
United States. No Haitian is being repatriated
without a careful interview that gives him or her a
chance to describe circumstances that might justify
an asylum claim.
Our Embassy is observing the repatriations, which
have been uneventful to date. The Haitian Red
Cross has been present to receive the returnees and
to give them a cash stipend. Our Embassy will
remain in contact with local and international
human rights and humanitarian organizations to see
if there is any evidence that these people are
mistreated after their return. I underscore that
there is no history of reprisals against Haitians
repatriated under our bilateral agreement.
Most important of all, this course of action will
send a clear message to discourage more Haitians
from going to sea in dangerous conditions based on
the mistaken belief that they will be guaranteed
entry into the United States. That message will
Some have drawn comparisons to our immigration law and
policy toward Cuba and charged that we are wrong to repatriate
Haitians when we don't repatriate Cubans. The facts are these:
Cubans are fleeing one of the world's remaining
communist dictatorships; they fear returning, if
for no other reason than that it is a crime in Cuba
to leave without an exit permit. Cubans have been
prosecuted and jailed for that offense. Those
conditions do not apply in Haiti.
Haiti is now under the control of a
military-dominated government. We hope that
negotiations about to begin between President
Aristide and Haitian legislators will lead to the
prompt restoration of constitutional rule.
However, neither Haiti's current conditions nor the
conditions before September 30 can be compared with
the systematic, extensive repression that is a
condition of daily life in Cuba.
The current exodus from Haiti began not when the
Aristide government was forced from power, nor in
the violence that followed, but one month later.
This indicates that the political crisis in itself
did not spark significant emigration. We are
interviewing each Haitian in careful detail to
determine whether there is a well-founded fear of
persecution. As I noted, we are bringing to the
United States those who establish a sound basis for
an asylum claim.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we believe we have executed
U.S. law and immigration policy in a fair and humane manner.
We believe the Coast Guard's actions and our policy decisions
have saved lives. We welcome your interest in this situation
and look forward to continuing consultations with Congress as
we continue to work for the restoration of Haiti's
democratically elected government.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Could I ask you just one brief question and perhaps
a second one. Was that treaty of 1981 ratified by the Aristide gov-
ernment as such?
Mr. GELBARD. Well, it wasn't a treaty, it was an agreement be-
Mr. MAZZOLI. An agreement. Was it ratified or somehow ex-
tended or acknowledged?
Mr. GELBARD. It was acknowledged by the Aristide government,
Mr. MAZZOLI. Acknowledged as being in existence to be looked at,
or acknowledged because they wanted it? It is a term of art "to ac-
Mr. GELBARD. No, it is no term of art, sir. They program contin-
ued to function during the Aristide government.
Mr. MAZZOLI. With their knowledge and-
Mr. GELBARD. Yes, it has to be done with their knowledge and
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much.
Mr. McKinley is here with the Ambassador-and you have no
statement of your own. If you have any comments, obviously, we
may direct some to you on that.
We will now go to Mr. McNary, the Commissioner of Immigra-
STATEMENT OF GENE McNARY, COMMISSIONER, IMMIGRATION
AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE, ACCOMPANIED BY RICARDO
INZUNZA, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, AND REX J. FORD, ASSOCI-
ATE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY
ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. MCNARY. Mr. Chairman, let me say that, first of all, I
admire your timing.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I'm not sure the timing-
Mr. MCNARY. I anticipated the tone of this hearing, and I have a
lengthy statement which I will submit for the record.
Mr. MAZZOLI. It will be made a part of the record.
Mr. MCNARY. My statement addresses the interdiction and de-
tention of Haitian nationals, the parole of Cuban nationals into the
United States, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service's
plan for emergency immigration situations, particularly in south
Florida. All of that is included in my statement.
With regard to the current situation, I would like to point out
that the role of INS is to adjudicate and determine whether Hai-
tians who have been interdicted and who are on Coast Guard cut-
ters are, in fact, refugees under the definition of the law as written
by this Congress.
At this point, we have a cadre of 12 teams that are on the Coast
Guard cutters. Those teams include interpreters who speak Creole.
The interviews are especially designed to even ask the same ques-
tions in several different ways in order to make sure that we can
find anyone and give them the benefit of the doubt who has a cred-
ible claim to asylum. It is not even an asylum adjudication, it is
just something close enough that would entitle them to come to the
United States for an asylum hearing.
We have at this point interviewed 1,600 people, and 85 have been
determined to have a credible claim; 53 have already been brought
to the United States; 32 are still at Guantanamo and will be
brought in immediately. That is 5 percent.
Again, let me emphasize that it is not quite a year old, but this is
a special, trained corps of adjudicators who have gone through a
lengthy training procedure in interview, to determine techniques,
to really go into it so that it is an objective, consistent, uniform
procedure, not based on any political consideration, and those are
the people who are presently doing the interviewing.
I would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McNary follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GENE MCNARY, COMMISSIONER, IMMIGRATION AND
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to be here today to provide testimony regarding
the immigration of Cuban and Haitian nationals to the United
States. Specifically, I will address the interdiction and
detention of Haitian nationals, the parole of Cuban nationals
into the United States, and the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) plan for emergency immigration situations,
particularly in the South Florida region.
The Alien Migrant Interdiction Operation (AMIO) was
authorized by Executive Order in September 1981 and is
implemented by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Order provides that the
United States may interdict vessels of nations with whom the
United States has an agreement concerning interdiction. Also,
vessels without nationality may be interdicted. The purpose of
the operation is to: (1) interdict illegal drugs and other
contraband being smuggled into the United States; (2) save lives
at sea; and, (3) serve as a deterrent for the illegal entry of
persons into the United States.
Since the beginning of the interdiction operation, more than
25,000 aliens, mostly Haitian nationals, have been interdicted.
In Fiscal Year 1991, 2,595 aliens were interdicted, of which
1,976 were Haitian nationals.
The Executive Order provides that "no person who is a
refugee will be returned without his consent." The INS has been
charged with the responsibility for determining whether an alien
is a refugee. Accordingly, INS Asylum Branch officers travel on
board the Coast Guard cutters to conduct interviews of those
aliens interdicted at sea. An asylum pre-screening interview is
conducted to assess a person's eligibility for asylum based on
his or her credible fear of return on account of race, religion,
nationality, membership in a particular social group, or
In an effort to improve the program, the following changes
A detailed introductory briefing on the purpose of the
INS interview at sea is provided to all interdicted
Asylum adjudicators are utilizing a new interview
questionnaire to ensure that interviews are
thorough and complete;
The parole into the United States of any interdicted
alien who presents a credible fear of persecution so
that the person may pursue the claim further with the
The adjudication of asylum claims in the United States
by an officer of the Asylum Officer Corps;
The provision of additional specialized training for
our asylum pre-screening officers in interview
techniques, asylum law, and current conditions in
the affected countries;
Revision of reporting formats used by the pre-screening
officers to record interview results; and,
S The establishment of a quality control mechanism at INS
Headquarters to review the documentation resulting from
interdiction interviews in order to refine the
Parole of Cuban Nationals
Cuban nationals continue to arrive by sea on boats, rafts,
inner tubes, or other flotation devices. Cubans also are brought
to the United States by the U.S. Coast Guard from unseaworthy
water craft found in international waters. Currently, paroling
Cuban nationals into the United States is the only viable
response as the Cuban government is not willing to accept the
return of its citizens, with the exception of a limited number of
excludable Mariel Cubans.
The procedure presently in place provides that when Cuban
nationals arrive at a port of entry, usually Key West, they are
immediately transported to our Krome Service Processing Center.
There, each Cuban national is interviewed by an INS inspector to
determine the ground of exclusion applicable to the Cuban
national. INS specifically attempts to determine whether the
alien has a history of criminal conduct. The inspector reviews
available criminal indices, considers statements made by the
alien, and looks for the appearance of tattoos or other
indications of incarceration. Public Health Service officers
also screen aliens for health problems.
Unlike those who arrived in the Mariel "Boatlift" of 1980,
(during which Cuban nationals were released from prisons to come
to the United States) a very small percentage of the current
arrivals are identified as having serious criminal backgrounds.
Also, the current arrivals are less likely to admit to criminal
involvement than many Mariel Cubans. Mariel Cubans often
admitted to criminal conduct, particularly when it could be
viewed as action against the Castro government, (e.g., theft of
government property), believing that such an admission would
enhance their chances of remaining in the United States. While
an alien is at Krome, his or her fingerprints are compared with
those of persons wanted by law enforcement agencies and persons
previously deported. Depending on the circumstances, a Cuban
national may also be interviewed by the FBI and other law
enforcement and intelligence entities.
The inspection process normally results in the parole of the
Cuban national pursuant to subsection 212(d)(5)(A) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act. With the exception of the 2,746
Mariel Cubans who were in detention as of December 14, 1984, Cuba
has been unwilling to accept the return of Cuban nationals deemed
excludablee" under our law. Because of INS' limited detention
space, detention of Cubans is limited to criminals and parole
violators. Of course, this situation could change if the Cuban
government alters its policy and permits the return of additional
Cuban nationals who are excludable and who have been denied
asylum. If INS decides not to parole a Cuban national into the
community, but instead to commence exclusion proceedings, that
person is transferred from the Krome facility to either a Bureau
of Prisons facility or a contracted facility, usually a local
In accordance with the Chiles Amendment, our current policy
is not to detain criminal aliens at Krome. However, Congress has
approved 4.5 million dollars for a 300-bed detention facility at
Krome to house criminal aliens. Additional funds may be
requested by the Administration to construct support facilities
to accommodate the increased population. The projected
completion date for all construction is December 1994.
If the determination is made to parole a Cuban national,
current policy requires that such parole be in conjunction with a
sponsorship approved by the Department of Justice Community
Relations Service. The sponsor may be a relative of the parolee
or may be an approved group or agency. It should be noted that
the parole of Cuban nationals is not always to a sponsor in the
South Florida region. In fact, a substantial percentage of
sponsors are located in states other than Florida.
Legal Immigration and Special Adjustment Programs for Cubans and
Legal immigration from Cuba was suspended after the
beginning of the Mariel Boatlift in 1980. It resumed briefly
after the signing of the agreement with the Castro government for
the return of the criminal Mariel Cubans, but was suspended again
from July 1985 through November 1987. Even with the pent up
demand that this should have caused, legal Cuban immigration to
the United Sates has not exceeded 3,800 per year since FY 1987.
Most Cuban immigrants gain permanent resident status by
"adjusting" their status from a temporary nonimmigrantt"
category. Specifically, more than 75 percent of all the Cuban
legal immigrants admitted during the period 1986-1990 were
admitted under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which I will
discuss in detail below.
-During the period 1986-1990, an average of 7,500 immigrants
were admitted from Haiti as spouses or children of U.S. permanent
residents or citizens. In addition to this immigration under the
preference and immediate relative categories, Haitians benefitted
greatly from two special adjustment programs. As of 1990, a
total of 31,595 Haitians have been granted permanent residence
under the Cuban-Haitian entrant provision of the Immigration
Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Another 12,420 Haitians
have been adjusted to permanent residence under the legalization
and Special Agricultural Worker provisions of IRCA.
The naturalization patterns for Cubans and Haitians are
comparable, with an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the immigrants
from these two countries eventually gaining citizenship. In
1990, a total of 10,291 Cubans and 5,009 Haitians became
Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966
The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 is still in effect. This
Act provides that the status of any admissible alien who is a
native or citizen of Cuba and has been inspected and admitted or
has been paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959,
may be adjusted to that of a permanent resident after one year of
physical presence in the United States. The statute does not
preclude the adjustment of a person who has overstayed a
temporary visa. As initially enacted in 1966, the Cuban
Adjustment Act required a two year period of presence in the
United States before adjustment. This time period was shortened
to one year by the Refugee Act of 1980.
INS is often criticized by representatives of Haitian or
other non-Cuban nationals for treating Cuban nationals
differently with respect to immigration benefits. The simple
fact is that, because of the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban
nationals are treated differently under the law. Thus, the
provisions of this Act, combined with the difficulty of returning
Cuban nationals to Cuba, provides a substantial incentive for
Cuban nationals to come to the United States.
Countering this incentive is the difficulty the Cuban
national faces in actually arriving at our shores. The fine
provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1323 and the anti-smuggling provisions
of 8 U.S.C. 5 1324, with potential for a prison term and seizure
of the conveyance, deter owners and operators of boats and
aircraft from bringing aliens who are not in possession of
passports and valid visas into the United States. Because of the
fine proceedings discussed above, it is unlikely that, without
government sanction, commercial fishing, shrimping and charter
fishing boat owners and captains will bring Cuban nationals or
other aliens to the United States. Finally, Cubans who are
currently caught attempting to leave Cuba are generally detained
for only a short period of time and then allowed to return to
their homes, whereas in the past more severe penalties, including
long term imprisonment, were imposed. As far as the admission of
Cubans on temporary visas is concerned, the State Department and
INS seek to screen out those actually intending to overstay their
visas and benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act.
The Immigration Emergency Plan
During 1981, the President directed the Attorney General to
oversee and coordinate a government-wide response to a potential
mass illegal immigration emergency. In February 1982, the
Department of Justice prepared a plan for a coordinated Federal
effort for utilizing the resources of appropriate agencies to
respond to and control an attempted mass illegal migration to the
Recognizing the serious responsibilities that would be
placed on the INS in the event of such an emergency, the
Commissioner directed the INS to prepare its own operational plan
consistent with the overall Departmental plan. A Mass
Immigration Emergency Plan for South Florida was drafted and
recently updated in June of this year.
It should be recognized that the INS plan is reactive in
nature, that is, once an immigration emergency has been
determined to exist, the necessary resources would be applied to
address the emergency. Through routine day-to-day contacts, the
INS offices in Miami maintain a liaison with other Federal, state
and local agencies. If an emergency situation were to occur in
South Florida, the framework for an appropriate response is in
place. Coordination meetings were held earlier this year, and
agencies and offices with significant roles in the South Florida
Plan have developed contingency plans consistent with the
framework of that plan. Planning meetings were also recently
held with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and applicable
U.S. military components.
The Immigration Emergency Fund
A $35 million dollar Immigration Emergency Fund was created
by IRCA for use in providing for increased enforcement activities
and for reimbursement of state and local governments in providing
assistance in meeting an immigration emergency as determined by
the President and certified to the House and Senate Judiciary
Committees. The Immigration Act of 1990 provided that up to $20
million of the Fund is available to reimburse states and
localities for providing assistance as required by the Attorney
General. Such reimbursements may be made to states and
localities upon application to the Attorney General without the
requirement of a Presidential declaration.
State and local officials in Florida have recently contended
that their social welfare and medical systems are being
overwhelmed by the increasing number of Cuban arrivals in the
Miami area. Regulations for access to the fund have been drafted
by the INS. The draft regulations require applications for
reimbursements to be in writing, detailing the nature of the
assistance provided and a justification for the amount of the
reimbursement being sought. Following receipt of the
application, the Attorney General would determine within 15 days
whether the reimbursement is appropriate.
Asylum in Florida
The number of asylum applications filed in the Miami
District Office has fluctuated greatly over the past eleven
years. We estimate that approximately 6,500 applications were
filed in calender year 1991, down from 30,500 in 1989 and 21,500
in 1990. The substantially higher numbers in 1989 and 1990 were
primarily due to applications filed by Central Americans.
Since the final asylum regulations became effective in
October 1990, a number of improvements have ensued. The
establishment of the Asylum Officer Corps, the training of these
Officers, and the supervision of Officers by the Refugee, Asylum,
and Parole Office at INS headquarters has enhanced the quality of
adjudication decisions and the process used to arrive at these
decisions. In addition to the enhanced training, the
establishment of a refugee documentation center, the promulgation
of clearer operating instructions, and the more efficient use of
legal resource -and humans rights conditions materials have
allowed the INS to provide clearer supervision and greater
quality control. All of these factors should serve to provide
greater consistency within the asylum process and more
This concludes my statement. I would be pleased to respond
to any questions you may have.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I read your statement. It is very interesting. I
would encourage my colleagues to read it. It does point out what
you have done and the special training, including language train-
ing, that these new adjudicators have.
I guess numbers are changing. Can we agree on a set of num-
bers? I have before me a chart which suggests the total interdiction
is 2,817. That is as of November 20. To the best of your knowledge,
is that about right? Everybody sort of nods.
Admiral LEAHY. 2,819.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Sir?
Admiral LEAHY. 2,819, I have.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 2,819, OK. 2,819, as of the best knowledge we have
as of today.
Returned to Haiti, 538.
Admiral LEAHY. 538.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 538, Admiral, OK.
Brought to the United States, 53?
Admiral LEAHY. 53.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 53 brought to the United States.
At Guantanamo, 483?
Admiral LEAHY. That number decreased because we have taken
some out of there.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 447?
Admiral LEAHY. 447, that is right.
Mr. MAZZOLI. OK, 447.
Mr. MCKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, could I make a comment?
Mr. MAZZOLI. Sure.
Mr. MCKINLEY. On that particular number, 447 was where we
started the day in Guantanamo. One flight of Haitians has already
left, destination Honduras, with about 125 on board. We expect to
have two more flights during the course of the day, an additional
one to Honduras and one to Venezuela, which shows that the safe
haven concept is working, and if it all goes as planned we will have
removed 350 Haitians from Guantanamo in the course of the day,
leaving a total of 97 there.
Mr. MAZZOLI. So the next two flights would be about 225, total,
which would then come to 325 for the day.
Mr. MCKINLEY. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Which would leave 125--
Mr. MCKINLEY. That leaves 97 by my count.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Something under 100?
Mr. MCKINLEY. I think 97. We started the day with 447; it was
the 483 minus the 53 that went out.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Admiral, on cutters, 1,779?
Admiral LEAHY. 1,781, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. 1,781.
Just to clear up, and then we will come to the admiral for his
statement, the court order covers all of the people at Guantana-
mo-whoever is a legal expert-it covers the people at sea, which is
Mr. MCKINLEY. I think the right way to put that, Mr. Chairman,
is that it covers repatriation. The court order deals with repatri-
ation. It prevents taking anybody back into Port-au-Prince.
Mr. MAZZOLI. So it doesn't have a number, it just says you
cannot repatriate anybody of this group, whatever their category.
Mr. MCKINLEY. That is right. I don't think it says you can't take
them to safe haven in the region. We are working on the assump-
tion that a safe haven in the region is still an option that the court
order allows, and, in fact, we are doing it.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. WILLIAM P. LEAHY, JR., CHIEF,
OFFICE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND DEFENSE OPERATIONS,
U.S. COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Admiral LEAHY. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of
the subcommittee. I appreciate this opportunity to be here before
you today and represent the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Ad-
miral Kime, and discuss the Coast Guard's migrant interdiction
I have a prepared statement to submit for the record, and, with
your permission, I would like to read a brief summary of my state-
Mr. MAZZOLI. Certainly. Your statement will be made a part of
the record, Admiral.
Admiral LEAHY. Thank you, sir.
The Coast Guard is our Nation's primary maritime Federal law
enforcement agency. Coast Guard migrant interdiction operations
are a result of the Presidential proclamation and Executive order
of September 29, 1981, which suspended the entry of undocumented
aliens into the United States from the high seas. The Coast Guard
was directed to enforce this order at sea.
In carrying out the Executive order, the Coast Guard, assisted by
Immigration and Naturalization Service--or INS-agents and in-
terpreters, stops and boards certain vessels when there is reason to
believe such vessels are engaged in the transportation of illegal
aliens. The passengers are interviewed by INS agents to determine
whether they are economic migrants or persons with a colorable
claim of political asylum. Migrants are returned to their point of
origin if they are in violation of the United States or foreign immi-
The Coast Guard does not repatriate Haitians or any other mi-
grants if they have not been interviewed by an INS agent, if they
have been interdicted within the U.S. territorial seas, or if they
have an emergency medical condition that requires evacuation
prior to a status determination.
Haiti is the only nation with which the United States has a mi-
grant interdiction agreement. This agreement allows the Coast
Guard to board Haitian flag vessels on the high seas when we sus-
pect there are illegal aliens aboard. INS agents then screen the
passengers and determine who should be returned to Haiti. Nor-
mally, migrant interdiction operations consist of one cutter sta-
tioned in the Windward Pass supported by air surveillance from a
Coast Guard aviation detachment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Prior to the September coup, repatriation of economic migrants
and delivery to the United States of persons requiring further
screening occurred as routine procedure under the bilateral agree-
ment. A Coast Guard liaison officer stationed in Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, coordinates the return of boat people with representatives of
the Haitian Government and the International Red Cross. Our lo-
cation in the Windward Pass departure zone provides both a criti-
cal interdiction presence and an important search-and-rescue re-
Coast Guard migrant interdiction is very much a humanitarian
as well as a law enforcement mission. Migrants take great risk and
endure significant hardships in their attempts to get to the United
States. Typically, their vessels are overloaded, unseaworthy, lack-
ing basic safety equipment, and are operated by inexperienced
people. A great number of migrants that have been returned to
Haiti by the Coast Guard would most likely have perished at sea
had they not been interdicted.
Since 1981, the Coast Guard has interdicted over 32,500 illegal
aliens, over 25,000 of whom have been Haitian. We have also inter-
dicted increasing numbers of migrants from Cuba and the Domini-
Mr. Chairman, I will now update you on what has happened
since the September coup. We initially saw a lull of activity until
our first interdiction of October 28 when we recovered 19 people.
Since then, we have picked up 2,817 Haitian boat people.
Mr. MAZZOLI. What was it? From the coup to-
Admiral LEAHY. From the coup until October 28.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Was it about 1 month or so?
Admiral LEAHY. I think the coup was on September 30.
Mr. MAZZOLI. So roughly 1 month.
Admiral LEAHY. Twenty-eight days-yes, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. And are your cutters in a position where they can
identify Haitians who have left 1 day earlier? Two days earlier?
How long does it take the Haitians to get to where the cutters are?
Admiral LEAHY. It depends where they depart from, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. There are different departure points in Haiti?
Admiral LEAHY. Yes, sir, there are.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Are there two or three familiar ones?
Admiral LEAHY. Well, we get some that come right out of what
they call the jaw, which is the western part of Haiti, and you get
those that come out of the northern part-the northwestern part.
Mr. MAZZOLI. So it takes them longer to get to the point.
Admiral LEAHY. Yes, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. How many days had they been at sea?
Admiral LEAHY. I can't answer that. I don't know.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Admiral LEAHY. OK.
Since that time, we have picked up 2,817 Haitian boat people.
There continues to be an increase in the numbers and the rate of
people leaving Haiti. Yesterday, we recovered 645 people. We re-
turned 538 people on November 18 and 19 to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
As of November 19, a temporary restraining order issued by the
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, has precluded fur-
ther repatriation. Four hundred and forty-seven Haitians remain
onshore at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, minus the ones that we were
just told about by the State Department here. A small number of
Haitians with colorable claims of asylum have been flown to the
United States for further processing. The remainder, some 1,788
Haitians, remain aboard seven cutters while we continue with re-
In response to this increased outflow, we have assigned addition-
al vessels to this operation. As of this morning, there are 15 Coast
Guard cutters involved. This response has substantially decreased
our counternarcotics and fisheries enforcement efforts and reduced
our capacity to respond to domestic search and rescue.
We have also sent additional medical personnel down, along with
shipments of blankets, food, and medical supplies. Our crews are
doing their very best to provide food and shelter to those we recov-
er. At the present rate, however, and based upon the constraints
placed upon us by the restraining order, our ships will be loaded to
capacity in about 2 days. Once we reach this point, we will not be
able to continue recovery operations unless we can off-load those
we have recovered.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you, Admiral.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Leahy follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REAR ADM. WILLIAM P. LEAHY, JR., CHIEF, OFFICE OF LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND DEFENSE OPERATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
GOOD MORNING, MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE.
IT IS A PLEASURE TO APPEAR BEFORE YOU TODAY TO REPRESENT THE
COMMANDANT, ADMIRAL KIME, AND DISCUSS THE COAST GUARD'S MIGRANT
THE COAST GUARD IS OUR NATION'S PRIMARY FEDERAL LAW
ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN THE MARITIME ENVIRONMENT. COAST GUARD
MIGRANT INTERDICTION OPERATIONS ARE A RESULT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL
PROCLAMATION 4865 HIGH SEAS INTERDICTION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS AND
EXECUTIVE ORDER 12324 INTERDICTION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS, THAT WERE
BOTH ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1981. THE EXECUTIVE ORDER DIRECTED
THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO ENTER INTO COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENTS
WITH FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREVENTING ILLEGAL
MIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES BY SEA. THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ALSO
TASKED THE COAST GUARD WITH ENFORCING THIS DIRECTIVE THROUGH THE
INTERDICTION OF A CLASS OF "DEFINED VESSELS" CARRYING
UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS. VESSELS WITHIN THAT CLASS INCLUDE VESSELS
OF THE U.S., STATELESS VESSELS, AND VESSELS OF NATIONS WITH WHOM
THE U.S. HAS SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS TO TAKE SUCH ACTIONS. FINALLY,
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF
STATE AND THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT IN WHICH THE COAST
GUARD IS OPERATING, WAS TASKED WITH ENSURING THAT THE U.S. MEETS
ITS INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS CONCERNING THOSE WHO FLEE THEIR
HOMELAND TO AVOID POLITICAL PERSECUTION.
IN IMPLEMENTING THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, THE COAST GUARD,
ASSISTED BY IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE (I.N.S.)
AGENTS AND INTERPRETERS, STOPS AND BOARDS "DEFINED VESSELS" WHEN
THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE SUCH VESSELS ARE ENGAGED IN THE
TRANSPORTATION OF ILLEGAL ALIENS. A VESSEL AND ITS PASSENGERS
ARE RETURNED TO THEIR POINT OF ORIGIN WHEN THERE IS REASON TO
BELIEVE THERE HAS BEEN A VIOLATION OF EITHER U.S. OR FOREIGN
SINCE 1981, THE COAST GUARD HAS INTERDICTED OVER 32.500
ILLEGAL ALIENS; WHILE THE VAST MAJORITY (OVER 25.000) HAVE BEEN
HAITIAN, RECENT TRENDS HAVE SHOWN A DRAMATIC INCREASE IN BOTH
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND CUBAN INTERDICTIONS.
CURRENTLY, HAITI IS THE ONLY NATION WITH WHICH THE U.S. HAS
A MIGRANT INTERDICTION AGREEMENT. THE HAITIAN INTERDICTION
AGREEMENT, WHICH WAS SIGNED ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1981, ALLOWS THE
COAST GUARD TO BOARD HAITIAN FLAG VESSELS ON THE HIGH SEAS WHEN
U.S. AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THE VESSEL MAY BE INVOLVED IN THE
IRREGULAR CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS FROM HAITI. WHEN INQUIRIES
SUGGEST AN OFFENSE AGAINST EITHER U.S. OR HAITIAN LAWS, THE
AGREEMENT CONSTITUTES CONSENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF HAITI TO
DETENTION OF THEIR VESSEL AND PASSENGERS, PENDING THE OUTCOME OF
I.N.S. INTERVIEWS TO DETERMINE PASSENGER STATUS. DURING
INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS, THE I.N.S. AGENTS ATTEMPT TO DETERMINE
WHETHER PASSENGERS ARE ECONOMIC MIGRANTS OR PERSONS WITH A VALID
CLAIM OF POLITICAL ASYLUM. PRIOR TO THE SEPTEMBER 1991 COUP IN
HAITI, REPATRIATION OF ECONOMIC MIGRANTS NOT QUALIFYING FOR
REFUGEE STATUS, AS WELL AS THE DELIVERY TO THE U.S. OF PERSONS
REQUIRING FURTHER SCREENING, HAS OCCURRED AS ROUTINE PROCEDURE
UNDER THE BILATERAL AGREEMENT.
THE COAST GUARD MIGRANT INTERDICTION OPERATION IS VERY MUCH
A HUMANITARIAN AS WELL AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT MISSION. MIGRANTS
TAKE GREAT RISKS AND ENDURE SIGNIFICANT HARDSHIPS IN THEIR
ATTEMPTS TO FLEE THEIR COUNTRY AND TRAVEL TO THE U.S. IN MOST
CASES, MIGRANT VESSELS INTERDICTED AT SEA ARE OVERLOADED,
UNSEAWORTHY, LACKING BASIC SAFETY EQUIPMENT, AND OPERATED BY
INEXPERIENCED SAILORS. A GREAT NUMBER OF MIGRANTS THAT HAVE BEEN
RETURNED TO HAITI BY THE COAST GUARD WOULD MOST LIKELY HAVE
PERISHED AT SEA HAD THEY NOT BEEN INTERDICTED.
NORMAL COAST GUARD MIGRANT INTERDICTION OPERATIONS CONSIST
OF ONE MEDIUM ENDURANCE CUTTER, TYPICALLY EQUIPPED WITH A
HELICOPTER, PATROLLING IN THE VICINITY OF THE WINDWARD PASSAGE
BETWEEN CUBA AND HAITI, WITH AN I.N.S. INTERVIEW TEAM ABOARD.
THE CUTTER RECEIVES SURVEILLANCE SUPPORT FROM A COAST GUARD
AVIATION DETACHMENT STAGED AT GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA. OUR PRESENCE
IN THE WINDWARD PASS DEPARTURE ZONE PROVIDES BOTH A CRITICAL
INTERDICTION PRESENCE AND AN IMPORTANT SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSE
CAPABILITY. IN ADDITION TO BEING EXTREMELY UNSAFE, THE HAITIAN
VESSELS WHICH HAVE BEEN INTERDICTED INVARIABLY LACK SUFFICIENT
FOOD AND WATER. THESE REALITIES UNDERSCORE THE NECESSITY OF
APPROACHING MIGRANT INTERDICTION AS A POTENTIAL SEARCH AND RESCUE
CASE FIRST, LEAVING THE ISSUE OF STATUS AND DISPOSITION OF
PASSENGERS TO BE RESOLVED LATER. A COAST GUARD LIAISON OFFICER
STATIONED IN PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI, COORDINATES WITH THE HAITIAN
GOVERNMENT DURING REPATRIATION OF INTERDICTED HAITIAN MIGRANTS,
AND ENSURES THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS IS
NOTIFIED TO MEET THE RETURNING MIGRANTS UPON ARRIVAL.
THE COAST GUARD DOES NOT MAKE DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE
STATUS OF MIGRANTS ENCOUNTERED ON THE HIGH SEAS. I.N.S. AGENTS
INTERVIEW ALL PERSONS INTERCEPTED BY THE COAST GUARD AND
DETERMINE WHETHER MIGRANTS QUALIFY FOR REFUGEE STATUS OR ARE
ECONOMIC MIGRANTS IN VIOLATION OF IMMIGRATION LAWS. ALL COAST
GUARD CUTTERS ON DEDICATED MIGRANT INTERDICTION PATROLS CARRY AN
I.N.S. AGENT AND AN INTERPRETER. ALSO, I.N.S. AND COAST GUARD
PERSONNEL ARE COLLOCATED IN AN OFFICE IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, FOR
EFFICIENT COORDINATION BETWEEN THE AGENCIES. INCIDENTS INVOLVING
ENCOUNTERS WITH MIGRANTS AT SEA BY CUTTERS NOT CARRYING I.N.S.
AGENTS ARE COORDINATED THROUGH THIS OFFICE. WHERE POSSIBLE,
I.N.S. AGENTS ARE TRANSPORTED TO THE CUTTER TO DETERMINE THE
STATUS OF THOSE INTERDICTED. IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE IT IS NOT
POSSIBLE TO DELIVER AN I.N.S. AGENT TO THE CUTTER, THE MIGRANTS
ARE TURNED OVER TO AGENTS UPON ARRIVAL IN A U.S. PORT. THE COAST
GUARD DOES NOT REPATRIATE HAITIAN MIGRANTS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN
INTERVIEWED BY AN I.N.S. AGENT, OR WHO ARE INTERDICTED WITHIN THE
U.S. TERRITORIAL SEAS. ADDITIONALLY, THOSE HAVING EMERGENCY
MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT CANNOT BE ADEQUATELY TREATED ON SCENE BY
COAST GUARD MEDICAL PERSONNEL ARE EVACUATED ASHORE FOR FURTHER
THERE IS NO MIGRANT INTERDICTION AGREEMENT WITH THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, HOWEVER, THERE HAVE
BEEN INCREASING NUMBERS OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NATIONALS
ATTEMPTING TO MAKE THE CROSSING OF THE MONA PASSAGE TO REACH
PUERTO RICO. AS OF NOVEMBER 10, COAST GUARD VESSELS HAVE
INTERCEPTED 1.034 DOMINICAN MIGRANTS IN 1991. OUR UNITS
OPERATING IN THIS AREA ROUTINELY ENCOUNTER SMALL DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC VESSELS WHICH ARE OFTEN UNSEAWORTHY AND OVERLOADED. IN
ALL CASES TO DATE, PASSENGERS HAVE ACCEPTED REMOVAL TO THE SAFETY
OF THE COAST GUARD CUTTER. I.N.S. TEAMS HAVE BEEN FLOWN TO THE
SCENE TO CONDUCT ASYLUM SCREENING INTERVIEWS. A SPECIAL
ARRANGEMENT FOR EACH CASE HAS THEN BEEN MADE WITH THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOR THOSE QUALIFYING FOR REPATRIATION;
TO DATE, THAT GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN RESPONSIVE IN ARRANGING FOR
PROMPT RETURN. IN VIEW OF THE INCREASE IN CASES INVOLVING
DOMINICANS, THE COAST GUARD AND I.N.S. JOINTLY REQUESTED THE
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ON
MIGRANT INTERDICTION, TO PURSUE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC SIMILAR TO THE ONE THE U.S. HAS WITH HAITI.
THE NUMBER OF CUBANS ARRIVING IN FLORIDA OR ASSISTED BY THE
COAST GUARD HAS ALSO INCREASED DRAMATICALLY. THIS CALENDAR YEAR
WE HAVE INTERCEPTED 1.796 CUBANS. THIS NUMBER IS GREATER THAN
THE NUMBER OF CUBANS INTERCEPTED IN THE PREVIOUS EIGHT YEARS
COMBINED. THIS INCREASE IS GENERALLY ATTRIBUTED TO THE
DETERIORATING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN CUBA COUPLED, AT TIMES, WITH
LAX CUBAN ENFORCEMENT PATROLS. WE INTERCEPT A LARGE NUMBER OF
THESE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE CLOSE PROXIMITY OF CUBA TO FLORIDA.
WHILE SOME OF THOSE MAKING THE TRANSIT FROM CUBA DO SO IN VARIOUS
SMALL FISHING VESSELS AND PLEASURE CRAFT, MANY OTHERS CONTINUE TO
ATTEMPT THIS PERILOUS TRANSIT ON RAFTS, INNER TUBES, AND OTHER
MAKE-SHIFT CONVEYANCES. THE INDIVIDUALS MAKING SUCH TRANSITS ARE
AT THE MERCY OF THE WINDS AND SEA CURRENTS. BASED ON THE
PREVALENCE OF DEHYDRATION AND SHARK BITES AMONG THOSE WE HAVE
INTERCEPTED, IT IS LIKELY THAT THERE ARE MANY RAFTERS WHO PERISH
IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO REACH THE U.S. COAST GUARD UNITS ENCOUNTER
THESE CASES WHILE CONDUCTING ROUTINE OPERATIONS IN THE FLORIDA
STRAITS. WHEN WE INTERDICT CUBANS ENROUTE THE UNITED STATES, OUR
PROCEDURE IS TO DELIVER THEM TO AN APPROPRIATE U.S. PORT AND TURN
THEM OVER TO THE I.N.S. FOR FURTHER PROCESSING. IN THE PAST
YEAR, DUE TO THE INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR LOSS OF LIFE IN THIS
AREA, WE HAVE INCREASED BOTH OUR AIRCRAFT AND VESSEL PATROL
THE COAST GUARD WILL CONTINUE TO INTERDICT MIGRANTS OF ALL
NATIONALITIES WHO ATTEMPT TO ILLEGALLY ENTER THE UNITED STATES BY
SEA. EACH PERSON WILL BE TREATED WITH PROPER RESPECT AND CARE --
THE SAFETY OF EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS MISSION WILL ALWAYS BE
OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY.
THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN. I WOULD BE HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY
Mr. MAZZOLI. Let me yield myself 5 minutes.
Let me start out by once again underscoring-not that any of
you need it-a couple of points. One is that you are not individual-
ly responsible for anything that has happened; you are not being
chastised or admonished in any way by this panel. But certainly we
need information in order to carry to the policymakers above you
our views, such as they are, about this problem. So I want you to
be sure of that. We appreciate the work you are doing as Federal
servants and, in the case of the Coast Guard, in dangerous service
at that, and we appreciate that, and we honor it, and we respect it.
Let me ask you, Admiral: Would the Coast Guard normally sail
and patrol the Windward Passage? and would it normally have
done that since 1981 without the interdiction treaty?
Admiral LEAHY. We possibly would have had a craft down there
from time to time, because it is a choke point involved with the
Mr. MAZZOLI. All right.
Absent the 1981 agreement, would the Coast Guard-you men-
tioned the term "search and rescue," because you say your search
and rescue operations and your antidrug enforcement duties are
being imperiled or reduced because of the 15 cutters who are in-
volved in interdiction.
Admiral LEAHY. Right. The search and rescue effort that I am
talking about would be the search and rescue effort that we do
with the Haitians. They would never make it up here, most of
them, if they weren't interdicted, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Does the Coast Guard do any routine search and
rescue in any of that area of the Caribbean-absent this treaty,
would it do that?
Admiral LEAHY. In the vicinity, within 150 to 200 miles, yes, sir.
We had a case yesterday, as a matter of fact. They were going to
get back to Guantanamo Bay today.
Mr. MAZZOLI. How many cutters do you have involved?
Admiral LEAHY. We have 15 down there now.
Mr. MAZZOLI. How many do you have totally?
Admiral LEAHY. Well, we have a total of about 33 medium-endur-
ance and high-endurance cutters on the east coast.
Mr. MAZZOLI. That is the total east coast, that is not just in the
Admiral LEAHY. That is the total; yes, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Are your cutters out of a certain port?
Admiral LEAHY. Yes, sir-all up and down the east coast.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Several ports, not just one.
Admiral LEAHY. Yes, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I think it is fair to say then, in this first-tier activi-
ty, which is what we are talking about, which is trying to take care
of the emergency, we have reached almost the point that we can't
even take care of the emergency people unless we find some solu-
tion to get them to some safe harbor either by granting them tem-
porary protected status or by providing some other type of execu-
tive parole. We have reached the point of capacity of your 15 cut-
ters. You have only 30 cutters totally along the eastern seaboard,
and you could not probably assign all those boats if you wished to,
to that Windward Passage. Is that correct?
Admiral LEAHY. Correct, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Which is all the more reason why the quicker we
can get something done for the emergency, the quicker you can get
back to normal search and rescue and normal antidrug activity.
Admiral LEAHY. Yes, sir.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Let me ask you, since you are the sort of senior
lawyer here, tell me a little bit about the interdiction agreement of
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Ford.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Excuse me. I apologize, Mr. Ford.
Tell me about that agreement. The Ambassador said it was ac-
knowledged by the Aristide government. What does that mean?
Was there a formal declaration by the Aristide government that
the interdiction treaty was a good thing and they wanted it contin-
ued as is?
Mr. FORD. I am not privy to that information. The only thing
that I am privy to-and I think maybe the Coast Guard could
answer this-there were some inconsistent statements as to num-
bers of people leaving Haiti during the Aristide tenure in office. I
heard a number that 1,360 people did, in fact, depart Haiti on boats
during Aristide's tenure.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Let me ask you a question. If you do not, I will try
to figure out who does know something about that agreement and
whether or not, in fact, it is the way we ought to continue. I said in
my statement at the beginning of our hearing today, we have to
perhaps make some recommendation to the Committee on Foreign
Affairs that deals with this, whether or not this agreement of 1981
should be continued, or whether it ought to be modified, or wheth-
er it is no longer useful.
May I just ask one final question, Mr. Ford? Are you privy to
any knowledge that within the Justice Department, Mr. Barr or
others, that there is any discussion now of extending TPS to these
Mr. FORD. Yes, sir. The way that temporary protected status hap-
pens-and it is generally by letter from Members of Congress-a
letter is addressed to the Attorney General, or some instances have
been by phone call, and we have asked people to put all of the per-
tinent facts in the letter.
As you know, there are specific requirements under the tempo-
rary protected status legislation, and when this first came up a
mechanism had to be put together, if you will. Priscilla Clapp from
the Office of Refugee Programs, and myself, and INS, we put to-
gether kind of a working group to discuss not just countries that
are written about but situations around the hemisphere where
things may come up, and, as you know, in the case of Somalia, a
designation was made for a period of a year.
Lebanon, Liberia, and Kuwait were mentioned in the committee
report language as likely countries for this type of thing, and a de-
cision was made by former Attorney General Thornburgh to in-
Mr. MAZZOLI. And are you aware of any conversations today with
Mr. Barr or in your Department dealing with TPS for Haitians?
Mr. FORD. We have been meeting on TPS and Haitian issues for
the last 4 months.
51-225 0 92 4
Mr. MAZZOLI. Did you meet yesterday? Did you all talk about it
Mr. FORD. No. We talked about it as recently as Sunday.
Mr. MAZZOLI. As recently as Sunday. And do you know whether
or not there is any denouement to this discussion?
Mr. FORD. I think the feeling of most of the people at the time is
that this issue probably is not ripe regarding Haiti.
Mr. MAZZOLI. I will yield, because I don't want to go too far
beyond my time, but I believe I am aware that some of our col-
leagues, perhaps some present today, have written and have never
gotten a letter back from the Attorney General.
Mr. FORD. Well, I think that is a sign, a good sign, because it
means it is under consideration.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Well, the way we handle case work in my office is
not to stiff the people who write but to send them an acknowledg-
ment: "Thank you very much for your letter. It is being taken
under advisement." That, you know, makes them aware that their
letter hasn't been lost in the great maw of the Federal Govern-
Mr. FORD. We call that an interim response, and after our brief-
ing last Thursday, Congressman, I went back to our executive sec-
retariat and said that if a letter cannot be answered in 2 weeks
that an interim response is to go out.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Those interim responses have been dispatched?
Mr. FORD. Yes.
Mr. MAZZOLI. Thank you very much.
My time has expired. Let me start, in fairness to the gentlemen
from the committee, with the gentleman from California, Mr.
Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I missed the testimony of this panel, so if it has been covered just
let me know, and I'll find out the answers from staff.
On Monday, the State Department expressed its confidence that
returning Haitians will not be harmed by those in power in Haiti.
On what basis did the State Department make those assurances?
And did we receive assurances from those in power in Haiti regard-
Mr. GELBARD. The decision to repatriate people was based on the
sense that the people who were being repatriated did not have po-
litical backgrounds on the basis of the extensive interviews con-
ducted with the INS.
Mr. BERMAN. Extensive interviews?
Mr. GELBARD. By the INS.
Mr. BERMAN. On the boats?
Mr. GELBARD. Yes, sir. This is the normal procedure and has
Mr. BERMAN. I say seriously and not at all facetiously, I wonder
how the interview process on a packed boat in the context of the
situation of apprehension can really delve at and get at the truth
and allow for a fair application of the asylum standards.
Mr. McNARY. Perhaps we can explain that procedure, Congress-
Mr. BERMAN. Pardon?
Mr. MCNARY. We can explain that procedure because-
Mr. BERMAN. I would be interested in hearing that, but I guess
first I would like to hear about the repatriation.
Mr. GELBARD. The normal procedure when people have been re-
patriated has been to deal with the Haitian Red Cross. The Haitian
Red Cross was consulted and held discussions with the de facto
regime in Haiti and received sufficient assurances that the process
went ahead. We have no reason to believe at this point that any of
the people who have been repatriated, based on the sense that the
Haitian Red Cross had, are going to suffer any reprisals, and his-
torically, under a wide range of nondemocratic regimes in Haiti,
this has been the case, and we have no record of any reprisals
against Haitians who have returned.
Mr. BERMAN. Are we able to monitor that, or are we depending
on the Haitian Red Cross to monitor that?
Mr. GELBARD. We have a very reduced Embassy at this time due
to circumstances in Haiti. We are attempting to monitor this our-
selves and also in conjunction with private voluntary organizations,
human rights groups operating in Haiti, the Red Cross, and other
entities, and our Embassy intends to stay in very close contact with
all of these groups.
Mr. BERMAN. So it is fair to say then, from what you have said,
that the assurances we received were indirect; they came through
the Haitian Red Cross based on their contacts with the Haitian
rulers at the present time, not on our own direct contacts; and that
the monitoring of the condition of the people repatriated will be
done, as much as possible, by the Embassy but with a great deal of
reliance on the voluntary organizations, human rights groups, and
other organizations in Haiti.
Mr. GELBARD. Yes, Congressman, and those have been the same
kinds of entities we have relied upon in the past because of the ex-
tensive nature, the widespread network, of these organizations
throughout Haiti. The experience thus far has been that none of
the people who have returned have received any kind of reprisals.
Mr. BERMAN. Then for my final question on this round, if I could
just hear a little description of the interview process on the boats,
how that works in what would seem to be serious impediments to
having someone fully and adequately recite their own situation in
that condition, having just been picked up-how that is going to be
really a truth-finding process.
Mr. MCNARY. Let me start out by saying the conditions are not
optimal. We have some teams of interviewers there, and these
teams include an interpreter-there are 12 teams-an interpreter
who speaks Creole.
First of all, all of the adjudicators have been specially trained to
make this adjudication, to apply the standards, to tap the various
country conditions, and to take the facts. They have certain tech-
niques they have been trained in. They have started out with a cer-
tain introductory briefing for the applicant, which explains the
purpose of the interview. Then they go into something on the order
of a 20-minute indepth interview which is conducted through the
use of a new interview questionnaire that has been established.
If a credible claim from that interview is made-and I don't
think you were here; I mentioned that so far 85 people have made
a credible claim; 53 have been brought into the United States; 32