Rep. Mondaire Jones decries ICE ‘unlawfully’ deporting constituent to Haiti

'Black immigrants have been disproportionately targeted and deported by our racist, inhumane immigration system.'

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Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) has reacted to the ‘unlawful’ deportation of constituent Paul Pierrilus, who ICE targeted and illegally deported to Haiti, a country where he has never been, and of which he is not a citizen. 

As theGRIO previously reported, Pierrilus, 40, is a financial consultant who emigrated to the United States at the age of 5. He was born in the French territory of St. Martin, which does not have policies for birthright citizenship. His parents are Haitian natives, however, he has never visited the nation. According to the Post, a tweet from the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, confirmed the Rockland County, New York resident has no citizen status in Haiti.

Essentially, Pierrilus is stateless as he is not recognized as a citizen in St. Martin or the U.S. The Post says there are about 218,000 individuals currently in the United States with the same status. 

Read More: Rep. Mondaire Jones prevents Trump deportation of constituent to Haiti

He was set to be deported on January 19 before Mondaire and his staff stepped in and were able to remove him from the plane just minutes before take-off. But less than two weeks later, Pierrilus was sent to Haiti anyway. 

“At 3:00 this morning, my staff woke up to an urgent call. Suddenly, and in the dead of night, ICE was set to unlawfully deport Rockland County’s beloved Paul Pierrilus. And there was nothing we could do to stop it,” said Mondaire in a statement shared on Twitter.

“Unfortunately, Paul’s story is not uncommon. Black immigrants have been disproportionately targeted and deported by our racist, inhumane immigration system, particularly in recent weeks,” he continued. “ ICE is a rogue agency. With the help of right-wing operatives on the federal bench, ICE is choosing to ignore President Biden’s deportation moratorium. ICE must be brought to heel. Our community is tired of watching our family members, our friends, and our neighbors ripped from their homes,” he wrote. 

“Paul should be with his family at his home in Rockland County. I will not rest until he is, and until we have built a humane, just immigration system,”  Mondaire added. “In the meantime, I am keeping Paul and his family in my prayers and my team will continue to monitor the situation and fight for Paul’s return.”

According to the Miami Herald, Pierrilus arrived in Port-au-Prince Tuesday morning, amid political strife and massive coronavirus restrictions.  

“They knew he was stateless. They knew he didn’t have a Haitian passport,” said his lawyer, Nicole Phillips. “It’s our understanding that he did not have travel documents to return to Haiti and yet they deported him there anyway.”

Read More: Biden to pause deportations for some immigrants starting Friday

Phillips noted that the U.S. government “made a huge error” by deporting Pierrilus to Haiti. 

“So they need to do everything they can to fix this problem,” Phillips said. “This is not a country that he should have ever had been deported to.” 

ICE also attempted to deport his brother, Daniel Pierrilus, in 2006. According to the family, Haitian officials sent him back when he arrived at Port au-Prince. 

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has committed to delaying deportations for at least the first 100 days of his term.

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