Emergency Appeals Seek Halt To Deportations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ The deportation of five Cuban boat people, the first whose cases came under review after last year’s prison riots, was postponed today after Cuba requested more time to prepare for them, the government said.
Joe Krovisky, a Justice Department spokesman in Washington, said the flight from Birmingham to Havana, scheduled for noon today, was rescheduled for 11 a.m. Friday.
The five fled the communist island nation in the 1980 boatlift from Mariel, Cuba, but were placed in custody in America pending deportation because of their criminal records in this country.
Some of the 125,000 in the illegal boatlift were convicts or mentally ill.
The five have been imprisoned at Talladega, about 60 miles east of Birmingham.
Justice officials announced Wednesday that the deportation of the five would resume a repatriation program that began in 1984.
Attorneys for three of the Cubans filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday, but Justice Anthony M. Kennedy today denied the application for a stay of repatriation without comment. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had denied the request earlier Wednesday.
That came a day after U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon in Birmingham turned down requests to stop the plan to send the three inmates to Cuba.
The three are among 15 Talladega inmates designated for return to Cuba after reviews by panels the Justice Department set up a year ago.
The government wants to send 15 Cubans from the Federal Correctional Institution at Talladega to Cuba, and attorneys for 13 of them asked Clemon to step in. The judge said he would rule by Monday whether to order a delay of the return of the other 10.
The other two apparently were not fighting deportation.
Carla Dudeck, coordinator of the Atlanta-based Coalition to Support Cuban Detainees, said the government would begin the deportations whether an appeal was pending or not.
″If they don’t rule before the plane takes off, they’re gone,″ she said prior to the cancellation.
The United States is trying to return to Cuba as many as 2,500 Marielitos as ″excludable aliens,″ or those convicted of serious crimes in this country. Attorneys for the inmates claim they will be persecuted if sent home.
The government sent back 201 Cubans several years ago, but Cuban President Fidel Castro halted that in 1985 and then agreed last year to accept 2,746.
That repatriation agreement resulted in riots by Cubans in federal prisons at Atlanta and Oakdale, La. The detainees later were dispersed, and 114 are at Talladega.
During a hearing before Clemon, the government claimed that attorneys for the Cubans, in asking for a temporary injunction against their deportation, were using delaying tactics.
Immigration and Naturalization Service attorneys argued that the 13 have had full and fair reviews of their cases.
Leo Ochoa of Miami, an attorney for the Cubans, said they were afraid to go home because they did not know how they would be treated by Castro’s government. He said that Cuba has violated human rights for 28 years and that Castro cannot be believed.
Lauri Fillppu of the INS told the judge that if he ruled against the government, it could establish a damaging precedent.
″We’d never get any alien out of the country,″ he said.
The three who sought court intervention are Miguel Beitia-Socarraz, 28, who pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary; Onel Calzado-Garlobo, 43, convicted in 1982 of attempted sexual assault charges involving a 13-year-old girl; and Rene Maurin-Oliva, 25, who pleaded guilty to theft and battery.