When Trump's attorney general nominee William Barr served as AG under George H.W. Bush, he allowed hundreds of HIV-positive people to be housed in "uninhabitable" conditions at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Over 300 Haitian immigrants fleeing violence in 1991 were forced to live in limbo at the maximum-security facility because they tested positive for HIV, The Daily Beast reports. Barr refused to grant the migrants — which included children — entry to the U.S., or even send them back to Haiti.
The conditions for the migrants were "deplorable" according to The Daily Beast, with maggot-infested food, inadequate medical care, and no access to immigration attorneys.
“The callous lack of sensitivity to human suffering and fundamental human rights was shocking,” Lucas Guttentag, who fought for the refugees' release and served as the founding national director of the Immigrants' Rights Project of the ACLU.
The disturbing conditions for HIV-positive refugees at Guantanamo continued into the early days of the Clinton administration, until a federal judge ruled in June 1993 that the administration was violating the migrants' constitutional rights. The judge likened the situation to a concentration camp and declared the Haitians were there “solely because they are Haitian and have tested HIV-positive.”
Barr's decisions laid the groundwork for the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo following the 9/11 attacks. Barr has never apologized or taken responsibility for the conditions there, even defending his actions on HIV-positive refugees. That's not a complete surpise as Barr has expressed deeply anti-LGBTQ views.
Barr's Senate confirmation hearings to be America's next attorney general are ongoing.