Representative image of Haitian crisis
Gang violence in Haiti's capital forces residents to flee their homes. Photo by: Reuters/Ralph Tedy Erol

The United States' urgent advisory for its citizens to leave violence-ridden Haiti has been swiftly followed by the evacuation of Haitian nationals from U.S. soil and their subsequent deportation back to the Caribbean nation.

Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance advocacy group, confirmed the deportation flight from Alexandria, Louisiana, to Port-au-Prince on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported.

The flight, which reportedly left its origin shortly before 8 a.m. EDT and was expected to reach Port-au-Prince shortly after 11 a.m., had more than 60 Haitians on board.

The move has drawn criticism from one Haitian advocacy group. "Those two cannot happen at the same time. You cannot be evacuating people and deporting people at the same time. That is beyond inhumane. It is definitely a violation of human rights," Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said, as reported by The Hill.

Haiti became a hotbed of gang violence after the assassination of former president Jovenel Moise in 2021. The country has since found itself shrouded in a wave of crime and unrest, which Prime Minister Ariel Henry is left to confront head-on.

The ongoing violence in Haiti has not only broken communities apart but has also made it difficult to hold important elections, particularly with over 1,000 individuals abducted for ransom in the first six months of this year alone — proof that the country's lawlessness has reached alarming proportions.

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti urged American citizens to promptly leave due to intensifying security and infrastructure issues in the Caribbean country. The advisory recommended the utilization of commercial or private transportation options for the evacuation and cautioned against any involvement in demonstrations or gatherings raising safety concerns.

"Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest and poor health care infrastructure," a U.S. State Department travel advisory for Haiti said.

Human rights advocates are perplexed by the United States' support for Haiti's current leaders and the deportation of people to a country facing significant challenges.

"What's unconscionable is that the U.S. is propping up the illegitimate and abhorred regime which is responsible for the hellish conditions Haitians endure every day," Steven Forester, immigration policy coordinator at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, said, according to The Hill.

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