WASHINGTON (RNS) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday (Feb. 3) called U.S. missionaries’ efforts to rescue undocumented children from Haiti “unfortunate,” and said they should have followed correct procedures for international adoptions.
Clinton told reporters at the State Department that “it was unfortunate, whatever the motivation, that this group of Americans took matters into their own hands.” The 10 Americans are now detained in Haiti. Their attempt to bring the children out of the devastation in Haiti to the Dominican Republic broke Haitian laws, which resulted in charges of kidnapping and criminal association being filed Thursday. If convicted, they could face five to 15 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Clinton said her office is “engaged in discussions with the Haitian government” about their fate.
“The Haitian nation acted to protect children who were being removed from their country without appropriate documentation,” Clinton told reporters.
Haitian Prime Minister Max Bellerive has said the cases could take place in the United States since the Haitian court system may not be capable of managing a trial.
“We will be working through the questions that the Haitian government has,” she told reporters, “and looking for the best way forward on this.”