MIAMI - Four Haitians who were among a group of Caribbean nationals found clinging to the hull of their capsized boat off the coast of Miami have been released from federal custody.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had detained the survivors as part of an investigation into the accident that killed four women in the early hours of Oct. 17 seven miles (11 kilometres) east of Miami.
The four Haitians from that "failed smuggling venture have been processed and are no longer in ICE custody," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias said late Tuesday.
Haitian Women of Miami's executive director, Marleine Bastien, said Wednesday that she was elated that the Haitians had been released. She was joined Monday by Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, whose elderly uncle died in U.S. custody after fleeing violence in Haiti in 2004, and other community leaders in calling for the survivors' release and criticizing U.S. immigration policies that usually permit Cubans who reach U.S. shores to be quickly processed and released to their families, while Haitians and migrants from other countries typically are detained.
Source: 4 Haitian survivors of failed smuggling operation released from US immigration custody