By LETRE SWEETING
A HAITIAN mother who is a resident of the United States is calling on the government to release her children who were allegedly taken into custody by the Department of Immigration while they were attempting to travel to America in what was a suspected smuggling operation.
In a letter addressed to Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell on Monday, the attorney for Clairnise Louis, the mother of two children of Haitian descent called for the Department of Immigration to release her two girls into the custody of relatives in The Bahamas as there is no one to receive them in Haiti should they be deported. The children are 11 and nine years old and were born in The Bahamas to Ms Louis and Haitian fathers.
Ms Louis was also born in this country to Haitian parents.
“We are instructed that both children’s fathers live, work and reside in The Bahamas and that there is no one to receive and care for the children in the Republic of Haiti should they be deported,” the mother’s attorney wrote in a letter obtained by The Tribune.
“We submit and invite you to accept that our client is a fit and proper person and we request that the children be released into the custody of our client.”
According to the letter, on October 19 Ms Louis was advised that her children were taken into custody while attempting to travel to the US. The letter noted that Ms Louis made arrangements to return to The Bahamas once she was advised of the circumstances surrounding her children.
The letter continued, “On our client’s arrival in The Bahamas, she (Ms Louis) made inquiries at the Immigration Department and was advised that her children were in fact taken into custody while attempting to travel to America.
“Our client instructs that she has no idea how her children were placed in the position in which they found themselves when they were taken into custody. Our client denies any involvement in the attempted smuggling.
“This matter is of serious concern to our client because she was making excellent progress with the American officials in acquiring status for her children.”
For her children, Ms Louis is willing to present herself to both the Bahamas Department of Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to be interviewed, said the letter.
According to the letter, Ms Louis’s children were staying with her brother in The Bahamas, while she resided and worked in the US.
“We are advised that our client, a legal resident of the United States of America, relocated to America some seven years ago and left her children in the custody of her biological brother.”
The letter continues, “We are instructed our client travels to The Bahamas every two to three months to visit with her children and has applied to the American authorities for status for her children to have her children live and reside with her in America.”
According to documentation provided to this newspaper, Ms Louis was born in The Bahamas to Haitian parents.
Attempts to reach Mr Bell for comment on the matter were unsuccessful up to press time.
This newspaper also tied to contact Ms Louis, however she was not available for an interview.
This matter comes one week after Haitian Chargé d‘affaires Louis Harold Joseph gave more insight into the social and criminal element in Haiti, which he said now has a 60 percent unemployment rate, causing much of the country’s problems.
In addition, several smuggling incidents in The Bahamas have caused concern, especially following the tragic death of some 17 migrants who died after a boat overturned in rough seas near Blackbeard’s Cay earlier this year, according to police.