The Honorable Mark Foley
Serious Human Rights Abusers Accountability Act of 2000
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims
September 28, 2000
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you and the members of your Subcommittee for inviting me back to testify about the serious matter of foreign thugs and torturers living here in the United States.
On February 17th, I testified before your Subcommittee regarding my bill, H.R. 3058, the Anti-Atrocity Alien Deportation Act. My bill sends a simple message -- if we find that you have committed or ordered performed acts of torture, you wonít be allowed into the United States. And ... if you have somehow managed to slip into the U.S., your citizenship will be forfeited and you will leave this country. Itís very clear -- engage in acts of torture and youíre not welcome here.
That is why I am pleased that the thrust of my legislation is being incorporated into the Chairmanís expanded bill, H.R. 5285, the Serious Human Rights Abusers Accountability Act of 2000.
The United States has always been a safe-haven for those fleeing political persecution abroad and this policy should continue. However, brutal criminals who have gone on violent rampages in Haiti, Yugoslavia and Rwanda have been able to gain entry to the United States through the same doors that we have opened to deserving refugees. We need to slam the door shut on these thugs and rid our country of those who have already managed to make their way here.
I didnít become aware of the need for this until I learned last year that Carl Dorelien -- a key member of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Haiti from 1991-1994 -- is now living in comfort in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, a beautiful coastal town my Congressional district. He even won the Florida lottery and -- amazingly -- has described his current standard of living as "a step down" from his former life in Haiti. This is a man who -- as Head of Personnel for the Haitian army -- oversaw the brutal campaign that led to the deaths of approximately 5,000 Haitians between 1991 and 1994.
Initially, I assumed this case was just an isolated and bizarre episode. But, once I began to look into the issue more, I soon realized that we have a big problem on our hands. The United States is becoming a haven for brutal human rights abusers.
According to the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco, at least 60
alleged human rights violators are currently living in the United States. And these are just the ones who have been identified.
In 1998, Canada began an aggressive campaign to locate and act against human rights abusers who found their way into the country. As of July, 1999, the Canadian government indicated that 400 cases are being processed toward removal, 307 suspected war criminals have been denied visas, and 23 were deported. Thatís a total of 700 war criminals that Canada has detected.
Based on Canadaís figures -- and taking into account the much bigger population in the United States and other socio-economic factors -- I think the Center for Justice and Accountabilityís claim that we could have as many as 7,000 human rights abusers living in this country is a reasonable estimate.
We must locate and take action against these criminals. After all, statutes like Meganís Law allow communities to find out if known sex-offenders move into the area. These same communities, however, could be oblivious to the fact that a brutal thug -- who went on a rampage in a place like Haiti or Kosovo -- is living anonymously among them.
Mr. Chairman, I support this legislation and thank you and the other members of the Subcommittee for allowing me to appear before you today.