Governor Kathy Hochul Pardons Longtime New York Resident Paul Pierrilus, Human Rights Groups Urge the U.S. Government to Bring Paul Home

New York, NY, May 30, 2024 – Last week, on May 24, 2024, Governor Kathy Hochul of the State of New York granted Paul Pierrilus, a 35-year resident of Spring Valley, New York, a gubernatorial pardon. The pardon, requested by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Haitian Bridge Alliance earlier this year, is a meaningful step to securing the safe return of Paul from Haiti following his unjust deportation in 2021 to a country he had never before stepped foot in. 

“Governor Hochul, I want to express my gratitude for the pardon you have graciously granted me. Your decision means the world to me, my family, loved ones, and our community. It has given me a renewed sense of purpose, and I can’t thank you enough for this second chance at life,” said Pierrilus. “To me, this is more than formal legal relief; it represents hope to rebuild my future. Your support, trust, and willingness to take a chance on me has opened up new possibilities that will profoundly impact my life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for this incredible opportunity. Your kindness and generosity will always be remembered, and I am determined to make the most of it.”

“We express our overwhelming gratitude to Governor Hochul for fully and unconditionally pardoning Paul’s conviction,” said Sarah Decker, staff attorney at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “We now call on the Biden Administration to acknowledge that this pardon, as the basis for Paul’s unconscionable deportation to Haiti three years ago, should be used to bring him home to his family and community by granting him humanitarian parole. Paul’s banishment from the U.S. for a 20-year old conviction that has now been pardoned exemplifies the double punishment Black immigrants too often endure.”

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Hochul for the full and unconditional pardon of Paul, who currently lives in hiding in Haiti during an unprecedented time of violence and political instability. As an individual deported from the United States, even though he was not born or had ever been to Haiti, Paul is particularly vulnerable to targeting for kidnapping and extortion,” said Guerline Jozef, Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “Humanitarian parole will allow Paul to reunite with his family and loved ones in New York who live in constant fear for his safety. Governor Hochul’s grant of a gubernatorial pardon should result in the grant of humanitarian parole and Paul’s immediate return to the United States.”

Paul’s application for humanitarian parole, a permission to enter the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons, is currently pending.

Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and builds solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”). Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @haitianbridge

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues— championing change makers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Twitter: @RFKHumanRights.