Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03122916 (posted Dec. 29, 2003)"
Office of the Spokesman
December 29, 2003
Haiti: Deterring Illegal Migration
The U.S. remains committed to legal immigration from Haiti. The U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince issued more than 66,000 immigrant visas since 1999.
However, deterring illegal migration is a top foreign policy objective. It is a
threat to U.S. national security, and it poses a grave danger to those Haitians
who attempt it.
* The Department of State works with the U.S. Embassy/Port-au-Prince and U.S.
federal agencies to stem the flow of illegal migrants.
* The Department of State works with the government of Haiti and other
Caribbean nations to curb illegal migration and alien smuggling and to
facilitate interdiction and repatriation operations by the U.S. Coast
In response to increased illegal migration in late 2001, the U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince launched a vigorous public information campaign to discourage
Haitians from attempting the dangerous journey by sea that can result in loss
of life. These efforts, together with the fair, judicious, and expeditious
enforcement of immigration laws by the Department of Homeland Security, help
discourage illegal migration from Haiti.
Given the threat illegal migration poses to national security, the United
States supports sending a strong message to all foreign nationals that,
consistent with our international obligations and policies, we will continue to
interdict and repatriate those who attempt illegal entry, absent valid
Decisions on the terms and conditions of detention of illegal migrants in the
U.S. are made by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland
Security s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and are outside the
jurisdiction of the Department of State. The Department of State supports
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement policies that reinforce our
foreign policy objective: to deter illegal migration from all countries,
Past mass migrations were triggered by shifts in U.S. policies that increased
the perception boat migrants would be readily admitted into the United States.
Therefore, the Department of State supports policies to minimize such
perceptions and the risk of another mass migration from Haiti as well as from
Released on December 29, 2003