PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed regional crime with Caribbean leaders on Monday during a summit in Haiti.
Holder talked with the leaders of mostly English-speaking Caribbean countries about crime problems, efforts to curb weapons and drug trafficking and a need to alert countries in the region about imminent deportations at the conference of the Caribbean Community, known as Caricom, held at a hotel in the Haitian capital.
Hundreds of thousands of people from Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and other nations have been deported to homelands they barely know since the U.S. Congress mandated in 1996 that every non-citizen sentenced to a year or more in prison be booted from the country upon release.
"With regard to deportees, I think what we need to do is make sure that we give as much notice as we possibly can before people are to be released and deported from the United States," Holder told reporters. "As we increase the more general capacity, law enforcement capacity, security capacity of the nations of Caricom, they will be in a much better position to deal with these deportees from the United States."
Holder also met privately with Haiti's President Michel Martelly, who assumed the chair of the Caricom group in January and will hold the title for six months.
It's the first time Haiti has hosted a Caricom conference. The gathering ends Tuesday afternoon.
Holder flew Monday afternoon to Thomas, Virgin Islands, where he is to meet with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of the U.S. Virgin Islands.