Paul Pierrilus, Who Was Unjustly Deported to Haiti Two Years Ago Today, Must Be Returned to the United States and Reunited with His Family

Washington DC, February 2, 2023 Two years ago today, on Feb. 2, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration put Paul Pierrilus, a finance consultant from New York, on a deportation flight to Haiti. Born in St. Martin to Haitian parents but raised in New York, Paul was not from and had never been to Haiti. Since the day of his arrival, Paul, now 42 years old, has lived in hiding for his safety during one of the most unstable and dangerous times in Haiti’s modern history. Haiti’s Ambassador to the U.S. Bocchit Edmond said at the time, “Mr. Pierrilus isn’t a Haitian citizen & thus can’t be sent to Haiti.”

“Since I’ve been deported to Haiti, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse got assassinated. How safe can the country be for someone like myself who’s never been here if it’s not safe for its own president?” said Paul Pierrilus. He added, “Literally every other night police officers are getting killed or I hear gang shootings. I’ve crossed paths with people that have been kidnapped and or had family members kidnapped. The insecurity is at an all-time high and there is zero police presence in the streets. I don’t leave my home or take any unnecessary risks out of fear that I’ll be kidnapped or killed. I should never have been deported here and ask the U.S. government and my community to help reunite me with my family who desperately need need me with them in New York.”

Guerline Jozef, Co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, the Black Immigrants Bail Fund, and founding member of Cameroon Advocacy Network, said, “I will never forget the call I received from Paul at 2am on February 2, 2021, saying that he was being deported. The Trump administration targeted Paul based on his Haitian background in its premeditated plan to single out Black immigrants for deportation, even though he had lived in the U.S. since he was five years old. After repeated attempts by the Trump administration to deport him, the Biden administration finally did. Paul had never been to Haiti, did not speak Haitian Kreyol, and is not a citizen of Haiti. We ask the Biden administration to establish a meaningful opportunity to return him home to reunite with his family and community in New York, in light of his cruel and unjust deportation.”

“It has been two years since the Biden Administration’s cruel decision to deport my constituent and an upstanding member of our Spring Valley community, Paul Pierrilus, to a country he had never been,” said Mondaire Jones, former U.S. Representative for the 17th Congressional District covering Pierrilus’ home of Rockland County. “After my office was able to stop his initial deportation, we were alarmed when ICE pressed forward two weeks later in apparent defiance of President Biden’s own executive order halting deportations for 100 days. The Biden White House has recognized the humanitarian and political crises in Haiti through a series of actions including extensions of TPS. In the same way that U.S. policy prohibits deportations to Ukraine due to dangerous conditions there, we should not be deporting people to Haiti.”

“Paul’s story is emblematic of the targeted violence and abuse Haitian immigrants in the United States face at every juncture of the criminal legal and immigration systems,” said Sarah Decker, staff attorney at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, “We know that U.S. immigration policy has historically singled out Haitians for deportation and has consistently blocked them from accessing the protection they are entitled to under U.S. and international law. Despite the fact that Paul lived in New York with his family and community for over 30 years, he was taken from his family, without any notice or warning by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and disappeared. We demand that the Biden administration bring Paul home. In light of the current conditions in Haiti, his deportation can only be understood as an unconscionable act of targeted violence.”


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.