His lawyer said that within less than two weeks of his exile in Haiti – the country they were not born and never visited – stopped by immigration enforcement, Paul Pyrillas was sent there.
Pierillas, 40, was expelled from the United States on Tuesday morning in Port-a-Prince on a US immigration and customs enforcement deportation charter flight along with 63 other individuals. He Was distraught and shocked, said his lawyer, Nicole Phillips, who spoke with him hours later.
“They knew he was stateless. They knew he did not have a Haitian passport.” It is our understanding that he did not have travel documents to return to Haiti and yet they sent him there anyway. “
A spokesman for the ICE did not respond to the Miami Herald investigation about the flight prior to publication. Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bochat Edmund, said he was interrogating the case. The country’s foreign minister, Claude Joseph, did not respond to a request for comment.
A New York financial adviser, Pierillas was born to Haitian parents in the French region of St. Martin. He Haitian-Creole does not speak fluently, advocates said, and has no family in Haiti, where on Tuesday, he was living with “a friend of a friend” after being moved to the country’s judicial police offices He was taken to a small room, photographed and took his fingerprints, his lawyer said.
Phillips said he tried to explain his position to four ICE agents, and at one point attempted to return to the plane’s stairs.
“Four ICE agents wrestled with him and forced him to get off the plane to stay in the country,” she said. “He Repeatedly pleading, ‘Show me the travel document.’ Nobody else did. “
‘On the brink of explosion’: violence, constitutional crisis pushes Haiti to the brink
Pierilus landed in Haiti amid the coronovirus epidemic, as well as the political crisis deepened. On its second day in a kidnapping case Tuesday, a nationwide general strike shut down schools and businesses, meaning it could not buy a cellphone, or collect a wire transfer.
Cars with bumper-to-bumper traffic were generally devoid of cars and buses, except for occasional private vehicles and motorcycle taxi drivers.
“The United States Government committed a major error in Haiti by deporting an idolless person in this case. So they need to do everything to fix this problem, ”Phillips said. “This is not a country they should have ever been deported.”
Pierillas, who was detained when he went to Manhattan for an immigration check-in on January 11, won a last-minute exile from exile on January 19 when he was dropped from one of the last deportation flights under the Trump administration. The frenzied efforts of immigration advocates, her sister and New York Congressman Mondair Jones, D-NY, helped her stay.
The next day, President Joe Biden was sworn in. Everyone involved in the case of Pyrillus believed that he was safe – at least for the time being. Soon after entering the White House, Biden issued a 100-day moratorium on the deportation of some unspecified immigrants.
The deportation suspension was temporarily stayed by a federal judge in Texas last Tuesday.
Philip, the legal director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an immigration advocacy organization, said a Texas court order does not mandate ICE to be deported. Nor does it tell them specifically to deport, she said.
“Whether or not it is within ICE’s discretion to deport people,” Phillips said. “In a hurry and desire to free black immigrants from the United States from Haiti, they are doing everything they can to be as Haitian as they are, and Paul was one of them.”
In addition to Tuesday’s flight, Haiti had another flight on Monday with 102 detainees, she said, and 1,800 more Haitians are in the pipeline to return to their homeland over the next two weeks.
At 3 am, my staff got up to make an urgent call. Suddenly, and in the dead of night, the ICE was prepared to transport the beloved Paul Pierillas of Rockland County to Haiti, a country where he never lived.
And there was nothing we could do to stop it.
– Rep. Mondair Jones (@RepMondaire) 2 February, 2021
Haitian Bridge Alliance director Guéraline Jozefa said Pierilas was woken up at 1 a.m. by an ICE agent and asked to take his luggage. When he asked where he was being taken, he was not given any answer. He Also asked if they had travel documents for them, and again received no response.
In 2003, Pierillas was convicted of selling drugs, and after serving his time, an immigration judge ordered his removal.
He Argued that he could not be sent to Haiti because he was not a citizen of the country. He Saint Martin was also not a citizen under French law. Both the Haitian and French authorities had refused American deportation requests.
Advocates say they are still unclear whether Pierillas, who was never recognized as a citizen by Haiti, ended up there.
“How is it that the Haitian government agrees to receive a man whom they have previously explicitly stated that he is not a Haitian citizen?” Asked Josefa. “Isn’t there a Haitian government to get people coming into the country; don’t they know who is coming into the country or is Flames That they have given whatever they want to the ICE? “
Phillips said that he left no stone unturned to get Pyrillus back. In 2006 the ICE tried to deport Pierillas’ brother Daniel Pierillas, who was also in the immigration problem. When he arrived in Port-a-Prince, the Haitian authorities sent him back, the sister said first.
Miami Herald reporter Monique O. Madan contributed to this report.