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Equal Treatment for Haitians - stop deportations, grant TPS

A call to halt deportations
Haiti's President René Préval asked the U.S. government to stop deporting
undocumented Haitians and instead grant them temporary protected status
, by Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Feb. 15, 2008


Help for a neighbor, Chicago Tribune editorial, May 10, 2008

Immigration being unfair to Haitians by Anna Menendez, Miami Herald, May 4, 2008


Haitian president wants temporary protective status for Haitians in America South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial, February 21, 2008

How to Help Our Needy Neighbor, The Tampa Tribune editorial, March 8, 2008
Reprieve for a beleaguered Haiti, Boston Globe editorial, March 16, 2008

Help for Haiti - The U.S. should temporarily stop deportations, Washington Post editorial, April 2, 2008

Policy is `white-foot, black-foot' By Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, Feb. 5, 2006


Update on Human Rights in Haiti: Temporary Protection for Haitians, Amnesty International, 2004


Memorandum on deferred enforced departure for Haitianse, signed by President Clinton, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Dec 29, 1997



Immigration Law favors
Cubans over Haitians

Foreign Policy Dominates US Immigration Policies

Immigration: Haitians in America Meet Requirement for TPS

Use of mask on Haitians raise protocol questions

American Dream Become
an Immigrant Nightmare


"Asylum Amnesty and Justice denied" our kind(See, "Breaking Sea Chains")

RBM Jazzoetry CD clip

Alcee Hastings:
Grant Haitians TPS
August 29, 2008


"...Asylum, Amnesty and Justice denied" his kind..." (See, "Breaking Sea Chains")

Haitian Women of Miami fights to change immigration policy toward Haiti

HLLN Campaign Two Links- Equal Treatment Under the Law, Stop Deportations, Grant Haitians TPS

RBM Video Reel

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Work Permits For Haitians Now! Stop Deportations to Haiti. Rally and march on April 22, 2006 in Miami for Equal Treatment for Haitians

Take Action: Call your US Reps, demand release of Haitian asylum seekers and TPS for Haitians now!





















Haiti's man-made and natural disasters

Miami Herald
June 14, 2004

The United States shouldn't continue to deport Haitians
to their devastated island. Considering Haiti's recent
disastrous floods and continuing street violence, we
should grant Haitians already here Temporary
Protected Status.

If they came from any other country but Haiti, the U.S.
government would have given Haitians TPS already. It did so for
Hondurans and Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch, and for Salvadorans
and Guatemalans when there was civil unrest in their countries. Haiti now suffers both natural and man-made disasters.

No chance for asylum
The U.S. government also should routinely screen interdicted Haitians to avoid returning potential asylum seekers into the arms of their persecutors. That's not being done now. Instead we have tightened the floating wall of Coast Guard cutters that interdict and summarily repatriate Haitian boat people. More than 2,000 Haitians have been returned this year amid the violence surrounding Jean-Bertrand Aristide's departure. The Coast Guard at best applies the ''sh out test'' -- a Haitian screaming loudly in fear of persecution may get a shipboard interview, which offers slim to no chance for asylum.

Conditions in Haiti warrant a TPS grant for Haitians without legal status but who already are here. These Haitians would be able to work legally, send remittances home and would have to return once conditions improved. Haitians who arrived afterward would not qualify for such status.

By statute, TPS may be offered in cases where a natural disaster results
in ''a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions'' or when ''there is an ongoing armed conflict... and, due to that conflict, return of nationals of that state would pose a serious threat to personal safety.'' Both criteria apply here.

Recent floods and mudslides have killed more than 1,000 people and left an estimated 15,000 homeless in Haiti. Survivors have had to rely on international-aid efforts because Haiti's provisional government has been unable to organize any significant relief.

Questionable treatment
Security remains equally grim. A May 25 State Department travel warning says, "The security situation in Haiti remains unpredictable and potentially dangerous.'' It notes "the absence of an effective police force in many parts of Haiti and the potential for looting, roadblocks set by armed gangs and violent crime."

Deportees face questionable treatment, too. Haitians deported in recent weeks, the majority without criminal records, have been jailed upon their return, according to the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. One deportee told FIAC that her family was forced to pay $500 for her release.

Haiti's fragile government clearly is unable to provide security or disaster aid. International forces aren't sufficiently in place to guarantee safety, either. The United States shouldn't return Haitians to face disastrous conditions or persecution in Haiti.


Update on Human Rights in Haiti: Temporary Protection for Haitians?

By Bill Frelick, Former AIUSA Refugee Program Director, Amnesty International

Few countries could rival the misery Haiti has experienced in 2004. The first two months of the year saw a rising tide of political violence culminating in the forced exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The next several months were characterized by widespread lawlessness and fear. Virtually every police station in the northern swath of the country had been burned to the ground, and most of the police, fearful of being associated with the deposed regime, abandoned their posts. Armed thugs roamed freely, exacting revenge. Known human rights abusers from the era of the military coup that had overthrown Aristide in the early '90s resurfaced as a major, uncontested force in much of the country.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere whose population faced chronic health problems, vast unemployment, and high illiteracy rates, where vast tracks of the earth itself are deforested and infertile, was a weakened society with no reserves to withstand such civil turmoil.

And then two hurricanes and a tropical storm struck Haiti in rapid succession. Floods killed between 2,000 and 3,000 people, rendering an estimated 300,000 homeless.

Haiti's already fragile ecological, economic, and social infrastructure was dealt an incalculable blow.

Meanwhile, the United States continued to deport Haitians apprehended inside the United States. Although Haitians with a well-founded fear of persecution ought to be protected from return, in reality, most face insurmountable disadvantages in establishing their refugee claims. The United States does not grant asylum-seekers the right to court-appointed attorneys. Most arriving Haitians apprehended without proper travel documents are subjected to detention, further compromising their ability to find free or low cost legal assistance or to prepare their asylum cases. Finally, because the situation in Haiti is so unsettled and so generally dangerous, it is actually more difficult for Haitian asylum-seekers to demonstrate to a judge that they have been specifically targeted for persecution than it might be for an asylum-seeker coming from a country where generalized violence is not so prevalent.

The legal standard for being granted asylum is a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. This high threshold test does not include people fleeing armed conflict or natural disasters. Recognizing the gap in protection, U.S. law provides the government with authority to grant a discretionary form of temporary protection for people in such extraordinary conditions. Currently, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is in effect for nationals of eight countries (Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan). Grants of TPS are normally for a renewable period of 12 to 18 months. In the cases of natural disasters, such as when Hurricane Mitch hit Nicaragua and Honduras, TPS must be requested officially from the home country.
Amnesty International USA began advocating for TPS for Haitians shortly after President Aristide?s departure . An estimated 20,000 deportable Haitians in the United States would benefit from a TPS designation. AIUSA members have sent thousands of letters and postcards to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge asking him to so designate Haiti.

Following the hurricane devastation, AIUSA met with the Charge of the Haitian embassy, and urged the Haitian government to make a formal request for TPS. Haitian Prime Minister Gerard LaTortue did request that Haiti be designated for TPS. LaTortue's letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "The floods of the last two weeks, which have devastated large portions of the country, compounded with the extraordinary conditions which have beset our country during the past year, have strained the meager resources of the Haitian Government and rendered us temporarily unprepared to handle adequately the return of our nationals."

At that point, AIUSA drafted a letter to Secretary Ridge signed by 36 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which called on him to grant TPS for Haiti. An AIUSA representative also presented the letter at an NGO meeting with White House and National Security Council staff. The NGO letter to Secretary Ridge said, "While we believe that natural disaster alone would be sufficient basis for designating Haiti for TPS, we also believe that political and civil unrest in Haiti is unabated, that members of armed groups kill and extort with impunity, and that there is a generalized breakdown of government law enforcement, such that lootings, muggings, and random acts of violence are still occurring frequently, both in the countryside and in urban areas."

On November 1, the day before the U.S. Presidential election, the Bush Administration announced an extension of TPS for Nicaraguans and Haitians, based on the damage to their countries caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. On November 5, three days after that same election, the Bush Administration announced that it would turn down Haitian Prime Minister LaTortue's request for TPS.

In making the announcement, the Bush Administration said that it would entertain temporary reprieves for individual Haitians from flood-affected areas of Haiti on a case-by-case basis.

One such case is that of David Joseph, a young Haitian asylum-seeker currently being held in the Broward Detention Center in Miami, Florida. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recently dismissed David?s asylum claim, so he could be deported at any time.

David arrived in the United States on October 29, 2002 when his boat ran aground off of Miami. Despite being granted bond by an immigration judge, the Department of Homeland Security has kept David in detention since his arrival.


Gather at 54th Street and North Miami Avenue at 2 pm & March to 79th & Biscayne Boulevard, April 19, 2006


Nationals of seven countries currently enjoy Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States: Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Burundis, Somalis, Liberians, and Sudanese but not Haitians! TPS halts all deportations and grants work permits to all nationals of countries so designated. But Haitians have never received TPS and continue to be deported to Haiti despite conditions there!

We are glad for Cubans and for the Central Americans who have TPS and cannot be deported. They are our brothers and sisters! But it is immoral and wrong to deport Haitians despite the catastrophic natural disasters, devastating economic conditions, brutal human rights abuses, political paralysis, endemic violence, institutional failures and meltdown, and massive unemployment and poverty in Haiti!

Grant Haitians TPS! These deportations destroy our families, devastate our community, cut off remittances which sustain hundreds of thousands in Haiti, and discriminate against Haitians!

Our elected political leaders will LISTEN when we demonstrate and march! Gather Saturday, April 22 at 2 pm at 28 NE 54th Street and march to the DHS building at 79th and Biscayne Boulevard!

Stand up and come out this Saturday April 22! Don't be left out! Celebrate with thousands of Haitian brothers and sisters and bring your family and friends! Raise your voice to demand: Stop Haiti Deportations! TPS and work permits for Haitians! Equal Treatment for Haitians Now!

Contact: Marleine Bastien, Executive Director, FANM/Haitian Women of Miami, 305 756-8050; Lavarice Gaudin, 786 285-3209; Steven Forester of FANM, 786 877-6999.

Supported by the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition; Haitian Women of Miami; the Haitian Lawyers Association, Haiti Solidarity; Veye Yo, Haitian Youth of Tomorrow, SEIU and a broad host of other organizations, groups, and Haitian elected officials!



President George Bush

Phone: 202-456-1111

Governor Charlie Crist (FL)

Phone: 850-488-7146

Senator Bill Nelson

D.C. Phone: 202-224-5274
Toll Free in Florida: 1-888-671-4091
Miami-Dade Office: 305-536-5999
Fax: 305-536-5991

Senator Mel Martinez

D.C. Phone: 202-224-3041
Toll Free in Florida: 1-866-630-7106
Fax: 202-228-5171
Coral Gables Office: 305-444-8332
Fax: 305-444-8449

Call your U.S.Representative and Senator and U.S. Representatives Kendrick Meek, (305 690 5905), Alcee Hastings (954 733 2800), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (954 437 3936), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (305 220 3281), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (305 470-8555), and Mario Diaz-Balart (305 225 6866). (All U.S. reps and senators may also be reached through the congressional switchboard, 202 224-3121.)


The Haitians who arrived on Hallandale Beach March 28 are traumatized, disoriented, and weak following their harrowing 22-day voyage from Haiti which claimed one life and required hospitalization of others. But instead of immediately paroling them to family and friends, U.S. immigration authorities are detaining them for expedited removal. The Catholic Archdiocese' s Archbishop Favalora has called such plans outrageous, called for their prompt release from detention, and promised to provide housing and legal representation for them all.

Their voyage underscores the need for Haitians in the United States to finally receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS) -- a 12 to 18 month deportation halt -- based on environmental disasters (Tropical Storm Jeanne and others) from which Haiti has not yet recovered. Nicaraguans and Hondurans in the United States in 1999, and Salvadorans in 2001, received TPS following natural disasters in those countries, but Haitians have never received it despite nearly universal support from South Florida politicians, editorial boards, and opinion makers.

U.S. Haitians remit $1.17 billion annually supporting nearly one million adults in Haiti -- on average sending $150 10 times per year to relatives, according to an Inter-American Development Bank report on March 5 -- but recent deportations of non-criminal approved I-130 beneficiaries Alexandre Nicolas and Marie Thelusma --who had lived in the United States since 1994 and 2000 respectively and have U.S.-born children -- are the tip of a deportation- iceberg devastating black Haitian-American families, drying up remittances, hurting Haiti's economy, and causing desperation which leads to the emigration we witnessed last week. Demand TPS for Haitians now! Nicolas and Thelusma had approved I-130s; Thelusma had a March 26 interview scheduled to become a legal permanent resident. That didn't matter to ICE, which is deporting long-resident non-criminal Haitians regularly.

U.S. failure to grant TPS is racist, not rational. Granting TPS would protect U.S. borders by keeping remittances flowing which support hundreds of thousands of relatives in Haiti. In contrast, deporting Haitians endangers our borders by cutting them off. Nor does TPS pose any threat: when TPS is renewed, its eligibility is not "brought forward", so no one not already in the U.S. on the initial grant date would ever be covered. Nor do statistics show any outflow following such announcements: when President Clinton on December 23, 1997 granted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to 50,000 Haitians who might benefit from pending legislation, no outflow ensued. (Statistics show flight from Haiti occurs following severe repression, e.g. after the bloody 1991 coup which ousted President Aristide and claimed at least 3,000 lives.)


Steven David Forester, Esq., Senior Policy Advocate
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami, Inc.
786 877-6999, www.fanm.org

Agency fights to change immigration policy toward Haiti

BY JOY-ANN REID , South Florida Times, May 30, 2008

Marleine Bastien said she has never seen the condition of the island so desperate.

On a trip to Haiti last month, the Miami activist and a group of clergy, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, toured the island nation, met with its president, Rene Preval, and surveyed the wreckage of years of poverty and neglect. The losses are exacerbated by a crippling food shortage that produced sporadic, but deadly riots in April, and which forced the prime minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, out of office.

The recent trip left Bastien, founder of Haitian Women of Miami (known colloquially as FANM, which stands for the Haitian Creole translation of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami) more determined than depressed.

“Haiti’s land is very fertile,” Bastien said during a recent interview at FANM’s Little Haiti headquarters. “It was the pearl of the Caribbean, and the major supplier of coffee and sugar to France.”

Those were colonial times, when Haiti passed from Spanish rule to become France’s richest colony. Haiti achieved independence on January 1, 1804, defeating the French Army to become the first free black republic.

But independence didn't last long. The island endured 19 years of U.S. occupation, from 1915 to 1934. Since then, its politics have been marked by instability, culminating in a series of vicious dictatorships, ending with that of Jean Claude Duvalier – “Baby Doc” -- in 1986.

“For almost 100 years, we have had our grip on Haiti,” Bastien said of the U.S. “Why haven't we invested in the agricultural infrastructure so that Haiti can grow its own food?”

Bastien seethes at the fact that part of the misery on the island stems from loans signed and squandered by former dictators from the World Bank and other international lenders, which have burdened Haiti with crippling debt.

“I like the African saying: We did not borrow any money, we're not going to pay.”
Debt relief is just one of FANM's causes, all of which are aimed at changing the U.S. government's attitude toward Haitians, whom FAMN argues are valuable to both the American and Haitian economies.

“Haitians in the U.S. will send $1.23 billion in remittances to the island this year. And that's just what's captured,” Bastien said. “That's ten times what the U.S. gives to Haiti in aid.”

Another cause that Bastien champions is gaining TPS – Temporary Protected Status – for those who have fled Haiti and who live – largely in Miami-Dade County – under the constant threat of deportation.

Bastien and her legal team – two full-time lawyers, Danna Magloire and Steven Forester, FAMN's senior policy advocate – argue that an estimated 20,000 Haitians already in the U.S. and who lack resident status, should be allowed to remain until the dangers back home created by natural disasters, political instability, food shortages and violence subside.

“The U.S., Canada, France and Britain all say it’s not safe to travel to Haiti,” Forester said. “So why is it safe to deport people to Haiti?”

Forester added that TPS for Haitians is supported by the entire South Florida congressional delegation – both Republicans and Democrats, and by Senator Bill Nelson. But he is critical of some local elected officials, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who have been silent.

FAMN argues that TPS has been conferred and renewed multiple times for people from countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua, which received the designation in the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The other countries currently designated for TPS are Burundi, El Salvador, Somalia, Sudan and Liberia, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Why not Haiti?” asks Guy Victor, the former Haitian consul general, who now serves as program coordinator for S.O.S. for Haitians, Inc., a relief agency that has been organizing food relief for the island since early this year.

“Haiti is right in our back yard,’’ said Victor, adding that he applauds the work that FAMN and other grassroots organizations are doing. “And you have parents who have been living in this country for the past 20 years, whose children are finishing high school, and who are living here with no status.’’

Forester, too, is passionate in his criticism of the way Haitians are treated once they are processed. He cites the case of Fabienne Josil, 26 years old and five months pregnant when she faced deportation in April.

Forester said Josil could have miscarried due to the neglect of U.S. immigration officials, who took her to detention at Broward Transitional Centre in Pompano Beach, rather than returning her to the hospital, where she had been treated for uterine bleeding. She had collapsed upon learning of the deportation order on April 18.

The irony, he said, is that Josil had qualified to remain in the U.S. after legally immigrating with her father, a U.S. resident, at age 20. But because of delays by immigration authorities, she turned 21 in the middle of the process and automatically “aged out” of qualification to stay in the U.S.

“She qualified, but because of unconscionable delays, the government seeks to deport her,” said Forester, who describes his job as “raising hell.”

He said he brought the issue to the attention of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, and that eventually, “enough people raised hell” that Josil was granted a temporary stay April 28.
Bastien and her team emphasize that TPS would only benefit people like Josil, who are already in the U.S. She also calls deportation a threat to families.

“You've got people who have American children, and you're asking those children to choose between their mother and their country,” she said.

Forester added that some Haitian-Americans are supporting dozens of family members back home. Deporting them would not only break up families; it would also bring that critical flow of money to the island to a halt.

Forester, who has practiced immigration law for 29 years and is FAMN's chief legal strategist, takes issue with the characterization of Haitians in the U.S. as “illegal aliens,” or even “undocumented workers.”

“Haitians who come into this country are all documented,” Forrester said. “They come in and apply for asylum, so they’re not ‘illegal.’ Partly, it's a function of the sea border versus the land border” as in the case of Mexican migrants.

He continued: “Rarely is someone able to land a boat here without being intercepted and processed by U.S. authorities. They may be in proceedings, but they're not undocumented.’’

“Our policy vis-à-vis Haitians is discriminatory. It's based on racism,” said Forester, who is white. And until the policy changes, he said, FAMN will continue to “raise hell.”

For more information, contact Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (FANM), or Haitian Women of Miami, Inc., at 305-756-8050, by email: info@fanm.org

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or log onto the organization’s website: http:// fanm.org.

Photo by Khary Bruyning. Marleine Bastien
Last Updated ( Friday, 30 May 2008 )


Hastings Again Urges President Bush to Assist Haiti's Recovery Efforts by Granting Haitian Nationals TPS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: David Goldenberg
August 29, 2008 Office: (202) 225-1313
Cell: (202) 731-6839

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL “U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) today again urged President George W. Bush to assist in Haiti's recovery from Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav by granting Haitian immigrants currently residing in the United States Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

"The people of Haiti have long been victimized by our nation's double standard immigration policies. The two back-to-back natural disasters that have recently ravaged this already struggling nation only emphasize the need for TPS," Representative Hastings stated. Haiti can hardly sustain the lives of those currently living within its borders. How can we also expect it to contend with the repatriation of the very people who left Haiti in desperation and who, through remittances, can aide in the nation's recovery efforts?

Under Section 244(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, TPS may be granted when there is ongoing armed conflict posing serious threat to personal safety; it is re quested by a foreign state that temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental disaster; or extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state prevent aliens from returning. Haiti meets all of these requirements. TPS designation temporarily halts deportation and grants permission to work, enabling Haitians currently in the United States to legally work and contribute to their country's recovery.

Representative Hastings is a leader in the fight to end double-standard immigration practices as they pertain to Haitian migrants. He is the author of H.R. 522, the Haitian Protection Act, legislation which would designate Haitian nationals in the United States as eligible for TPS. Representative Hastings has been calling for the extension of TPS to Haitian nationals for years and has been continuously engaged in correspondence with the Bush Administration on this matter. This is Representative Hastings' sixth letter to President Bush regarding TPS since the beginning of the 110th Congress in 2007.


The text of Representative Hastings' letter follows.

August 29, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United State s
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the recent environmental and economic devastation that Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav have ravaged upon the nation of Haiti, I write once again to urge you to grant Haitians residing in the United States Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

As you know, TPS may be granted when any of the following conditions are met: there is ongoing armed conflict posing a serious threat to personal safety; it is requested by a foreign state that temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental disaster; or when extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state exist which prevent aliens from returning. Now, more than ever, Haiti continues to meet all of the requirements for TPS.

Already in the midst of a devastating food crisis that sparked deadly riots and led to the removal of its Prime Minister, Haiti has now suffered through two natural disasters within a span of only a few days. Tropical Storm Fay took dozens of lives, damaged countless homes, and flooded and destroyed many of Haiti's few profitable rice fields and plantain crops. Little more than a week later, Hurricane Gustav made landfall with 90 mph winds and caused floods and mudslides that forced hundreds of people from their homes and took the lives of more than 50 individuals.

It would take decades for a wealthier, more stable nation to recover from challenges similar to those facing Haiti. However, Haiti also lacks the physical and economic infrastructure necessary to protect its citizens from natural disasters, and any development efforts are further stunted by the constant crisis and turmoil affecting the nation. The tragedies of these past two weeks have shown us that by our refusal to take substantive action, we not only leave the Haitian government vulnerable to greater political instability but we also increase the likelihood of human and physical loss from the probable event of future natural disasters.

As Haiti's humanitarian crisis becomes increasingly dire and the nation's struggle for economic stability and sustainable development is further delayed, it is now more imperative than ever that the United States grant Haitian immigrants TPS.

TPS is the least expensive, most immediate form of humanitarian assistance we can provide Haiti, and it allows the Haitian government to invest all of its limited resources in the rebuilding and redevelopment of its struggling economy. These recent events have already forced Haitian President Rene Preval to postpone the installment of a new Prime Minister. How volatile must the political and economic situation in Haiti become before the United States is willing to take adequate action?

Just 600 miles from our shores, political and economic instability in Haiti impacts our own economy and immigration levels, thereby making it our responsibility to work to ensure Haiti's long-term stability. Haitians, both in Haiti and in our own country, have long suffered through natural destruction, persistent poverty, repressive regimes, and the inequitable policies of the Untied States. It is now our moral obligation to help Haitians sustain and rebuild their country by granting Haitian nationals already residing in the United States TPS.

I once again respectfully request that you grant Haitians TPS and urge you to allow Haitians the same consideration and protection that you, as well as previous administrations, have supported for other deserving nations in similar circumstances. If you continue to believe that Haiti still does not merit this designation, then I request a detailed explanation as to why.

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
# # # #


Recommended links for HLLN's Campaign Two: Equal Treatment for Haitian refugees, stop deportations, grant TPS, justice for the ill treated Haitian asylum seekers

Haitians deserve equal treament:

Alcee Hastings: Grant Haitians TPS, August 29, 2008


Haitian Women of Miami fights to change immigration policy toward Haiti

A call to halt deportations
Haiti's President René Préval asked the U.S. government to stop deporting
undocumented Haitians and instead grant them temporary protected status
, by Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Feb. 15, 2008


Editorials urging President Bush to grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status -TPS:

Help for a neighbor, Chicago Tribune editorial, May 10, 2008

Immigration being unfair to Haitians by Anna Menendez, Miami Herald, May 4, 2008


Haitian president wants temporary protective status for Haitians in America South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial, February 21, 2008

How to Help Our Needy Neighbor, The Tampa Tribune editorial, March 8, 2008
Reprieve for a beleaguered Haiti, Boston Globe editorial, March 16, 2008

Help for Haiti - The U.S. should temporarily stop deportations, Washington Post editorial, April 2, 2008

Immigration Law favors Cubans over Haitians

Policy is `white-foot, black-foot' By Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, Feb. 5, 2006
Foreign Policy Dominates US Immigration Policies
Immigration: Haitians in America Meet Requirement for TPS
Use of mask on Haitians raise protocol questions


Update on Human Rights in Haiti: Temporary Protection for Haitians, Amnesty International, 2004


Memorandum on deferred enforced departure for Haitianse, signed by President Clinton, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Dec 29, 1997

For more Campaign Two links, go to No Sanctuary for Haitians


Help for Haiti
The U.S. should temporarily stop deportations.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008, Washingtonpost.com

THE UNITED STATES occasionally grants immigrants from countries in extreme economic or political turmoil "temporary protected status," or TPS, which means U.S. removals to those countries will stop for a specified period. The designation is given to people from countries or parts of countries that have ongoing armed conflicts, recent environmental disasters or other conditions that prevent nationals from being returned home safely.

On all these fronts, Haiti is a slam dunk. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it has been battered perennially by political instability, financial hardship, violence, hurricanes, earthquakes, AIDS, bad luck and worse leadership. The U.S. State Department warns Americans who are visiting Haiti about the "chronic danger of violent crime," all the while repatriating Haitians to a death zone. Still, when Haiti applied in 2004 for TPS, it was turned down for undisclosed reasons. Last month, Haitian President Rene Preval wrote to President Bush requesting TPS for Haitians who are unlawfully in the United States, and Mr. Bush should grant the request.

Suspending deportations would allow Haiti to spend its limited resources on economic and political reconstruction rather than on social services for deported people. In Haiti's fragile economy, remittances from nationals abroad equal about a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Allowing Haitian nationals to temporarily stay in the United States, in other words, would be a sort of cheap foreign aid, leaving undisturbed one of the few things keeping the country afloat. This is not just a humanitarian issue, though the misery there makes a compelling case; stability in Haiti, which is only a boat trip from Florida's coastline, is in America's interest, too.

Critics contend that granting temporary protected status to Haiti will open the floodgates to more undocumented Haitian immigrants. But TPS applies only to a country's nationals who are already in the United States at the time TPS is declared, and the burden of proof is on them to verify their eligibility. TPS designations given to Somalia, Burundi, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Sudan don't seem to have enabled more illegal immigration from those countries.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) has introduced legislation to extend TPS to Haitians, and the proposal has obtained bipartisan support from politicians across his state, which has the largest Haitian-born population in the country. Immigration policy is too radioactive right now for anything to happen on Capitol Hill. Fortunately, under current law, TPS can be granted by the executive branch alone if the president feels a country would benefit from having some time to breathe. While a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would say only that Mr. Preval's letter is "being evaluated," we hope Mr. Bush will take a positive stand. After all, on March 17, Citizenship and Immigration Services renewed Somalia's TPS for another 18 months with little fanfare.

The people of Haiti deserve the same generosity and sympathy granted to other deserving countries.

Reprieve for a beleaguered Haiti
March 16, 2008, Boston Globe

LAST MONTH, Haiti's president, René Préval, wrote to President Bush asking for a favor: For the time being, please stop deporting Haitians who are in the United States without legal status. It's a controversial request - one that would affect perhaps 20,000 people who entered this country illegally, are seeking asylum, or are appealing immigration decisions. The proposal is a tough sell politically, but it makes global sense.

Préval wants Bush to grant Haitian immigrants "temporary protected status." It's a legal time-out for immigrants who come from countries facing crises such as armed conflicts and natural disasters. The status already applies to certain Nicaraguan immigrants, who are covered because of devastation caused in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch. Immigrants from El Salvador are covered because of earthquakes there in 2001.

To make his own case, Préval points to devastating storms that struck Haiti in 2004, causing thousands of deaths, widespread homelessness, and the destruction of fertile land. Préval does not say so in his letter, but as Bush knows, Haiti is also chronically racked by poverty, AIDS, violence, and illiteracy.

Haitian workers in the United States play a key role in combating those problems. Préval points to how much his country relies on money that Haitians earn in the United States and send to relatives at home.

In 2007, remittances to Haiti from the United States totaled an estimated $1.26 billion - about 24 percent of Haiti's gross domestic product, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, which finances development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. It dwarfs the $129 million in foreign aid that Haiti got in 2007 from the US Agency for International Development.

Remittances act as an unofficial antipoverty program. Haitians use the money for food, clothes, medicine, educational costs, as well as opening bank accounts, building homes, and launching small businesses.

Given this economic benefit, granting temporary protected status for Haitians is a simple way to help their native country build a better future. Temporary status would only apply to Haitians who could prove they were in the United States before a set cutoff date. New immigrants would not be covered.

The plight of Haitians at risk of deportation only underscores the inadequacy of US immigration policy. Haiti now depends upon workers who have found a place in the US economy despite their lack of legal status. These Haitian immigrants probably would have gotten some protection last year. But immigration reform efforts in Congress failed.

Now, Bush should direct the Department of Homeland Security to grant temporary protected status, to help preserve the remittances that finance Haiti's fragile quest for progress.

How To Help Our Needy Neighbor, The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 8, 2008

Florida's poorest neighbor, Haiti, has not yet recovered from tropical storms and floods, and continues to be plagued by social unrest and political uncertainty.

Under such conditions, it's no surprise that Haiti doesn't want its citizens who fled to the United States to be arrested and deported. Dollars they send home are feeding many hungry families.

In the present emergency, Haitian President Rene Preval makes a reasonable request: Grant temporary protected status to Haitians working in the United States.

Gov. Charlie Crist should urge President Bush to agree to let Haitians keep working for both humanitarian and practical reasons. Many of the Haitians in the country illegally have Florida jobs, typically in service industries or on farms.

The money they send home supports from five to 10 people. If this money stops, thousands of people back in Haiti would have no hope of buying food or medicine. Many of them would themselves try to leave.

U.S. immigration law allows for temporary lenience for foreign workers in emergencies. The Haitians would be given no amnesty nor would additional Haitians be allowed to enter illegally. The Inter-American Development estimates that Haitians working in this country send more than $1 billion home each year. That is money the country cannot afford to lose.

Those who argue that Haiti isn't our problem should consider how close Haiti is to Florida shores. They should also review some history. More than 200 years ago, President Thomas Jefferson helped Haiti achieve independence from France. In 1915, the United States invaded Haiti and soon gave it a new constitution. In 1994, the United States threatened to invade again unless military leaders gave up power, which they did.

Today, Haiti is asking only that we permit it to help itself. Allowing its most industrious citizens to continue working for us for 12 to 18 months is a modest request that Bush should grant. to 18 months is a modest request that Bush should grant.


Haitian president wants temporary protective status for Haitians in America, Sun-Sentinel Editorial, Feb. 21, 2008

ISSUE: Haitian president wants temporary protective status for Haitians in America.

Haitian President René Préval has finally asked the U.S. government to extend temporary protective status to Haitians. The designation is long overdue, and President Bush would do well to grant Préval's request.

Haiti, already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was further devastated by last year's Tropical Storm Noel, the latest in a string of natural disasters that have rocked the country in recent times.

TPS would temporarily protect Haitians already in the United States -- many of them parents of U.S. born children -- from deportation. TPS is not permanent status, and the protection covers periods less than 18 months, though it can be renewed.


Immigration being unfair to Haitians by Anna Menendez (amenendez@MiamiHerald.com), Miami Herald, May 4, 2008


Help for a neighbor, Chicago Tribune editorial, May 10, 2008

President Bush has received an urgent plea from this hemisphere's poorest country. Haitian President Rene Preval wants the U.S. to put a temporary stop to the deportation of Haitian immigrants. Preval's case for help is exceptionally strong.

He seeks something called "temporary protected status." It is a designation that the U.S. grants from time to time to immigrants who cannot be sent home safely because of political upheaval, widespread violence or natural disasters.

Haiti's great tragedy is that it qualifies on all three counts.

United Nations peacekeepers have been assisting Haiti's government since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was displaced by a coup in early 2004. That same year, Hurricane Jeanne, an earthquake and rain-driven floods killed more than 5,000 people and left thousands homeless. Hundreds of people died in Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Noel in 2007. Haiti's cities are plagued by so much kidnapping, drug trafficking and violent crime that the State Department warns Americans to stay away.

Hence, Preval's request. In essence, he's saying, allow Haitians in the U.S. to stay while we grapple with these disasters.

Temporary protected status is provided only for up to 18 months, unless U.S. officials decide it should be renewed. The designation would affect an estimated 20,000 Haitians who are here illegally or whose legal residency is about to expire. The protection would apply only to those who are here now, so it would not create an incentive for more illegal immigrants to come here.

Immigrants from Somalia, Burundi, Honduras and Sudan have temporary protection.

Nicaraguans have had it since 1998 because of Hurricane Mitch. El Salvadorans have had it since earthquakes hit in 2001. There has been no flood of new immigrants from those countries because of this humanitarian gesture.

That's what this would be for Haiti: a humanitarian gesture. It would also extend an economic benefit for the bereft nation. Haitians in the United States sent an estimated $1.2 billion in remittances to their home island in 2007, according to the World Bank.

That was almost a fourth of Haiti's gross domestic product and almost 10 times the assistance that the nation received from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

President Bush should grant President Preval's request. He can do so through executive action. No congressional approval is necessary. It would be a modest gesture for the U.S., but a great help to Haiti.

Policy is `white-foot, black-foot'

By Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, Sunday, February 5, 2006

When the U.S. Coast Guard recently repatriated a group of Cuban migrants who'd landed at an old bridge in the Keys, lawmakers from South Florida implored the White House to reconsider its bizarre ''wet-foot, dry-foot'' policy.

Under current rules, Cubans who make landfall in the United States usually are allowed to stay, while those intercepted before they reach shore are typically sent home.

Haitian migrants must have been discouraged by the public outcry that followed the Seven Mile Bridge incident, knowing that a Haitian landing would have drawn no such attention in Washington, D.C.

Like those before it, the Bush administration doesn't care whether the feet of arriving Haitians are wet or dry. They're going back, one way or another.

It's no secret that U.S. immigration policy is a farce -- irrational, inconsistent, ineffective and discriminatory. And no nationality has been more consistently singled out for exclusion than the Haitians.

A prime example is the Department of Homeland Security's continuing refusal to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian migrants awaiting deportation hearings.

The TPS program was designed to provide an interim safe haven for undocumented immigrants who would otherwise be sent home to dangerous conditions caused by armed conflict, natural disasters or other extraordinary circumstances.

Haiti is a textbook case for TPS. Lashed by hurricanes, the desperately impoverished nation is again being ravaged by political violence, daily kidnappings and marauding street gangs.

The situation is so perilous that U.S. travelers have been warned to stay away. American Embassy workers are forbidden from going out at night, and their children under age 21 are supposed to return to the United States.

A bloody snapshot of life in Haiti: Last summer, a U.S.-sponsored soccer match in Port-au-Prince ended with approximately 10 deaths when gang members and riot police attacked the Haitian crowd.

Incredibly, Bush officials insist that migrants from Haiti don't need protected status. The place is too deadly for tourists and diplomats -- but not for the Haitians we're sending home.

The TPS program was meant to be humanitarian, but also impartial. In the past, undocumented aliens from war-torn Liberia, Sudan and Somalia have been given temporary protected status.

After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998, TPS was granted to thousands of undocumented Hondurans and Nicaraguans here. It was offered again to Salvadorans fighting deportation, after a series of killer earthquakes racked their homeland in 2001.

TPS isn't an amnesty; it's an 18-month window of safe haven, which is then reviewed periodically. Those immigrants allowed to remain here must register with Homeland Security and pay income taxes during their stay.

More than 300,000 Central American TPS designates are still working in the United States and sending money home. Some immigration reformists want the TPS program scuttled, or absorbed into guest-worker legislation backed by President Bush.

Whatever form the new rules might take, it's unrealistic to hope that Haitians will be treated as equals with other migrants.

The disparity is painfully glaring here in South Florida, where immigration policy plays out as as ''white-foot, black-foot.'' Boatloads of Cuban migrants are joyously welcomed if they reach shore, but Haitians are quietly processed and shipped back.

Officially the U.S. government has explained the double standard by saying that the Cubans are political refugees while the Haitians are fleeing here purely for economic reasons. The two issues are patently inseparable, so the distinction is a sham. Almost everyone who sneaks into this country is seeking the opportunity to make a decent living. Often that requires escaping from inept, crooked or oppressive governments.

Every year an estimated 700,000 immigrants from all over the world illegally cross the U.S. borders, and few are true political refugees. By far the largest single group is from an ally nation and established democracy -- Mexico.

The schizoid actions of our own leaders helped cause the current disaster in Haiti. After a coup we sent troops to re-install its first elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide; then we sat on our hands while his government unraveled in corruption and rebellion.

Much of the violence throttling Haiti is between supporters and enemies of the exiled Aristide, and is pegged to the long-delayed elections now set for this Tuesday. More bedlam and bloodshed are certain.

Immigration lawyers around the United States have filed motions to halt all deportation proceedings against Haitians because of chaotic, life-threatening conditions there. It remains to be seen whether any judges will acknowledge the hypocrisy of the present policy

It makes no sense to offer a haven to Somalians and Sudanese, and turn our backs on a human calamity unfolding in our own hemisphere. Tragically, there isn't much common sense or decency to be found in the history of how Haitian boat people have been treated.

It doesn't matter whether they land at a bridge or a beach or the steps of the Statue of Liberty. They still can't get in.


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