Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Gracey

600 F. Supp. 1396 (1985)

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Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Gracey

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
600 F. Supp. 1396 (1985)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

The United States and Haiti entered into a cooperative agreement intended to prevent Haitians from illegally immigrating to the United States by sea. The cooperative agreement authorized a program of interdiction pursuant to which United States officers were authorized to board Haitian vessels travelling on the high seas, inquire about the status of passengers, and return to Haiti any passengers found to be in violation of United States or Haitian law. The cooperative agreement only applied outside of the United States’ territorial waters and specifically did not apply to persons the United States classified as refugees. The Haitian Refugee Center (HRC) (plaintiff), a Florida-based nonprofit, sued the United States Coast Guard and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (collectively, government) (defendants), arguing that the Haitian interdiction program violated the United Nations’ 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (Protocol), an international treaty to which the United States was a signatory. The government moved to dismiss, arguing that HRC failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because the Protocol was a non-self-executing treaty and the United States had not enacted any implementing legislation applicable to Haitians interdicted on the high seas by United States authorities.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Richey, J.)

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