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Be a good neighbor to Caribbean (Page Two)

Grant TPS
- Page One and Page Three


Haitians snubbed again in bid for TPS - Our Opinion: Duplicity in administration policy for help after natural disasters, Jan. 7, 2009, Editorial, Miami Herald

IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti, Dec. 17, 2008, Editorial, Miami Herald


No good reason not to give Haiti TPS -- Our Opinion: Let Haitians living here help their country avoid chaos -- or worse, Editorial, Miami Herald, October 30, 2008

Help for Haiti, Editorial, New York Times, October 12, 2008

Senseless, deadly U.S. policy on Haitians persists, Miami Herald editorial, December 28, 2008

Miami Gardens urges TPS for Haitians, December 26, 2008


Haitians facing deportation look to Obama for help, Feb. 21, 2008

“A Double Standard? - Thousands of Haitians Face Deportation, CaribWorldNews, Feb. 17, 2009

Obama Statement on the Need for Humanitarian Assistance to Haiti Following Devastating Storms, Sept. 8, 2008

Editorial, Verbatim: Stop deportations to troubled Haiti, Miami Herald, Feb. 14, 2009


Haiti at a crossroads as donations dry up and upheaval looms
Miami Herald, Jan. 15, 2009
Hurricane Ike kills dozens in Haiti


Deportations to storm-crippled Haiti resume, Dec. 9, 2008, Associated Press


U.S. Resumes Deportation flights to Haiti, Dec. 9, 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

US Discriminatory Immigration Policies Toward Haitians
By Stephen Lendman, Feb. 28, 2009, Atlantic Free Press


Dessalines Is Rising!!
Ayisyen: You Are Not Alone!




Editorials urging the President to Grant TPS to Haitians

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 treatment

Will Haitians Be Spared Deportation After All?
CaribWorldNews, Mar. 10, 2009****************

We think: Mass deportations of Haitians isn't the answer
Editorial, Orlando Sentinel, March 6, 2009

UN expert urges US not to deport thousands back to hurricane-ravaged Haiti, March 6, 2009

Haiti’s Despair, Continued, New York Times Editorial, March 10, 2009

Wyclef Speaks Up For Haitians Facing Deportation, CaribWorldNews, Mar. 2, 2009


Haiti After the Storms: Weather and Conflict, by Robert M. Perito, United States Institute of Peace, November 2008

Letter to the Editor: Haitians need TPS, finally by Former State Representative Phillip J. Brutus, Miami Herald,
January 12, 2009

Op-ed: Inhumane to deport Haitians by Alcee L. Hastings, Miami Herald, December 29, 2008

Op-ed: Haitians need help now, solutions for stable future by Edwidge Danticat, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 23, 2008


Remittances are too low ... Bottom Line: Grant TPS to Haitians, a neighbor
, Sun-Sentinel editorial, Sept. 6, 2008


Patrick Farrell/Miami Herald/MCT
Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike claimed 12 young victims in Cabaret, Haiti, Sept. 7, 2008.



Haiti, Venezuela pose early tests for Obama administration, By David Adams, Times Latin America Correspondent, St. Petersburg Times, February 21, 2009

The Obama administration is getting an early reality check on some of the sticky issues facing U.S. foreign policy in this hemisphere.

Take just two recent examples: Haiti and Venezuela.

Immigration advocates, some of whom worked for the Obama campaign, are dismayed by growing reports of Haitians being deported to the hurricane-wrecked island, despite ongoing legal appeals.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan opposition activists are equally appalled by the State Department's endorsement of Sunday's controversial referendum in which President Hugo Chávez won the right to unlimited re-election.

While Venezuela and Haiti are not considered priorities in U.S. foreign policy — at least not compared with Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran — they are likely to pose significant challenges for the State Department during the next four years.

History has proven that American presidents ignore them at their peril.
In Haiti a new political crisis is looming over presidential elections due in 2010 that are likely to be hotly contested. The country is in even more severe economic distress than usual after four hurricanes last year killed 800 people, flooded the country's second-largest city, and destroyed roads, bridges and crops.

Meanwhile, Chávez has over the last decade turned Venezuela into an ideological crucible of anti-U.S. sentiment in Latin America. Venezuela still supplies more than 10 percent of U.S. daily petroleum needs, and is leading efforts at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to push prices higher.

The Bush administration halted deportations to Haiti between September and mid December. But they have since resumed, including four people on Jan. 23, only three days after Obama's inauguration. Thousands more are in detention and face similar fates.

Immigration advocates are appealing for another moratorium, arguing that the devastation from hurricane season has left the country in no condition to handle large numbers of returnees.

"All we are asking for is reinstating the halt to deportation orders," said Steve Forester, with the group Haitian Women of Miami.

As a humanitarian gesture, others say the United States should grant Haitians who are in this country illegally what is known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, effectively freezing action on their cases. Haiti's cash-strapped economy depends heavily on remittances from families abroad, which would be hurt if deportations continue, they say.

Some of those being deported are noncriminal Haitians who have often been living here for more than a decade, and have young, U.S.-born children, as well as U.S. spouses, he said.

Forester cited the example of Louiness Petit-Frere, a Haitian man who was deported Jan. 23 after almost 10 years in this country. Petit-Frere is married to a U.S. citizen, his brother is an injured Iraq war veteran, and his mother is a permanent resident.

"He is calling his mother every day saying he has nothing to eat," said his attorney Candace Jean. "But he came (to Miami) on a boat and the law says you have to go back to your country for 10 years. It makes no sense."

Obama officials had another surprise this week after Chávez won Sunday's referendum allowing him to stand ad infinitum. State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid described the vote as "entirely consistent with the democratic process," despite overwhelming evidence of misuse of state resources.
From that assessment it might appear that the Obama administration "has opted to turn its back on democracy in Venezuela," said Pedro Burelli, a Chávez critic and former board member of Venezuela's state oil company.

Privately, some officials are saying that the spokesman misread his guidance notes. But no one has officially come forward to correct him.

"The fact is that the Obama administration hasn't yet focused on the Venezuela challenge and hasn't decided how it is going to deal with Chávez," said Michael Shifter, at the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue. "The result is some carelessness and contradictory signals."

Ditto Haiti.


Haitians facing deportation look to Obama for help, Institute for Southern Studies , Feb. 20, 2009

The United States is set to deport more than 30,000 Haitians to their impoverished homeland, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced this week. A protest in response to the decision has been planned for Saturday, Feb. 21 in Broward County, Florida. Haitian activists and immigrants are calling for a halt to the arrests and a suspension of the deportations.

Deportation orders have been processed for 30,299 Haitians and they are starting to be implemented. Hundreds of Haitians have been put in camps awaiting the return home, while others have been put under a form of house arrest and are being monitored with electronic ankle bracelets, the AFP reported.

As the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti's troubles significantly increased with the passage of four deadly back-to-back storms last fall -- Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike -- that killed more than 800 persons and worsened the nation's food crisis. The storms devastated the small, impoverished island nation, washing away roads, bridges and crops. Thousands lost their homes. By some estimates, 80 percent of the country's population had been displaced by wide-ranging flood damage. A joint World Bank, United Nations and European Commission assessment released last November determined that total losses from the storms -- "the largest disaster for Haiti in more than 100 years" -- could equal 15 percent of Haiti's gross national product.

Haitian President René Préval has urged the United States to grant Haitians nationals in the United States temporary protection status as victims of natural disasters, insisting Haiti is still struggling to recover from last year's devastating hurricanes and cannot handle the return of its citizens. Haitian officials even said they will not issue the travel documents needed to process the deportees. But ICE argues that Haiti's resistance will force people to languish longer in crowded detention centers.

The U.S. government did halt deportations to Haiti for three months last year, starting in September. After resuming flights in December, the administration of then President George W. Bush denied Haiti's request for "temporary protected status." Temporary protected status, or TPS, is a special state granted to immigrants of certain nationalities who are unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The designation would have allowed Haitians living in the United States illegally to stay and work temporarily as their home country recovered from the devastating storm season.

Several Florida lawmakers criticized the Department of Homeland Security's decision to resume deportations last December. Haitian grassroots activists and immigration advocates have since renewed the call for TPS for Haitian nationals in the United States. Haitian advocates are upset that the new Obama White House seems to be maintaining the same policy of the past administrations -- one that advocates say represents a double-standard in dealing with Haitian immigrants.

Protected status has been granted and extended by the DHS to people from a handful of African and Central American countries because of natural disasters. For instance, Hondurans are still getting TPS from a natural disaster that occurred in 1999. In addition to Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan have temporary protected status through 2010. Yet, Haiti has never been granted such a status. Over the years, the United States has become notorious for turning away Haitian "boat people" coming into South Florida seeking refuge and asylum from political upheaval and disaster.

The impact of U.S. and multinational policies continue to haunt the country. Over the years, due to harsh policies and pressure from the United States, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Haiti was forced to undergo strict structural adjustment policies that had a devastating impact on its local economy. Critics argue that international lending organizations helped worsen hunger in Haiti by pursuing free market policies that undermined domestic rice production and turned the country into a market for U.S. rice. This food crisis was further compounded by crippling sanctions, political destabilization, and environmental destruction.

Now Haitian advocates are wondering if the Obama era will bring in fair immigration reform or just more of the same.


A Double Standard? - Thousands Of Haitians Face Deportation By Felicia Persaud/CWNN, Feb. 17, 2009

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Feb. 17, 2009: During the run-up to the November 4th election of President Barack Obama, his then national political director for the general election campaign, Haitian American Patrick Gaspard, aggressively targeted the Haitian voting bloc in South Florida. Now, weeks into the new administration, some 30,000 Haitians face deportation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement agency authorities say they've ordered thousands of Haitians to leave the country despite the fact that Haiti is a battered economy and still struggling to recover from back-to-back storms there last summer. The deportation order came as former Bush Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, wrote to President René Préval denying TPS (Temporary Protected Status) status to Haitians late last year.

And they reinstated deportations after a temporary humanitarian delay.

Haiti Ambassador to Washington, Raymond A. Joseph, told CWNN on Monday that the Preval administration feels strongly `that the halt in deportation of Haitian citizens announced by the U. S. administration after the four hurricanes devastated Haiti late last summer should have been kept in place until a full review of the situation in Haiti, still reeling from the natural disasters and the high cost of living that led to food riots in April of last year.`

Joseph also questions why Haitians are not eligible for TPS when at least three countries in Central America that suffered natural calamities years ago are still benefitting from TPS that is granted on a renewed schedule every 18 months.
`Why aren’t Haitians eligible for the same status?,` asked the ambassador.
Joseph also revealed that he is awaiting a response from the current DHS administration.

And he revealed that he has `personally written to ask for an audience with the new Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to ascertain whether the Obama administration will maintain the same policy of the past administration toward Haitians.`
For now, the Haitian government is holding off on issuing travel documents needed for USICE to return Haitian deportees. This means some will remain in crowded detention centers while others will be placed under house arrest until they can be deported.

- By Felicia Persaud/CWNN


Haiti’s Despair, Continued, New York Times Editorial, March 10, 2009

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to continue an ill-advised Bush administration policy of deporting illegal Haitian immigrants.

Haiti, already desperately poor, was devastated by storms last year. It is hard to see how an influx of up to 30,000 homeless, jobless people — the number of Haitians facing deportation from the United States — would do anything but further destabilize the country as it struggles to recover from what has been called its worst natural disaster in a century.

American advocates for Haitians have joined the Haitian government in pleading for an end to the deportations, arguing that all interests are better served by giving the detainees temporary protected status. When a political crisis or natural disaster makes repatriation a bad idea, it is far wiser to allow people to stay put rather than be forced home where they will place further strains on local supplies of food, clean water and housing — all of which are perilously scarce in Haiti. The Haitian diaspora can do a lot more for its stricken homeland by sending home what is really needed: money.

Ending deportations of Haitians would also be consistent. Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans and others whose countries have been hit by war, earthquakes and hurricanes have routinely been granted protected status in 18-month increments.

The strongest argument against doing so is the fear that boatloads of Haitians will take to sea in a deadly gamble to win sanctuary for themselves. That is a legitimate concern. But the best way to address it is by helping to lessen Haiti’s misery with aid, trade and investment. Haitians living in this country can help — but not if they are deported home to a country that is in no condition to accept them.


Stop deportations to troubled Haiti


Below are excerpts from a Feb. 9 letter to President Barack Obama from representatives of 127 immigrant and civil-rights organizations and churches nationwide, including Marleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami and Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.

Immigrant communities look forward to working with your administration. Certainly you have many pressing priorities. We are compelled, however, to bring to your attention a life or death matter: Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness and unemployment, if not worse, in the wake of four killer storms that further devastated our hemisphere's poorest nation.

We urge you to immediately stay deportations to Haiti pending review of U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians.

To continue these deportations is inhumane and, we believe, contrary to your administration's values of fairness, transparency and respect for human rights.
Please consider:

• The former administration stayed deportations to Haiti in September only to resume them abruptly in December without notice or reasonable explanation. This was a last-minute Department of Homeland Security policy reversal. It should not stand.

• Conditions in Haiti remain abysmal. The storms destroyed 15 percent of its GDP -- that is like eight to 10 Hurricane Katrinas hitting the United States in one month. The State Department recently renewed warnings not to travel to Haiti due to the ''destructive impact'' of the storms.

• Staying the deportations is in the U.S. interest. Sending more people in need of food and shelter will further burden the Haitian government, which already is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural disaster. Deportees only delay recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, Haitians who remain here would continue to send remittances, encouraging relatives to stay in Haiti and help rebuild their country.

• These deportations tear apart families, hurting U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Vialine Jean Paul, 34, married a U.S. citizen. Their 7-year-old, U.S.-born daughter is being treated for a chronic viral infection. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Ms. Jean Paul to buy plane tickets for her deportation to Haiti before Feb. 10. Her dilemma: Should she put her daughter at risk of malaria, hepatitis, cholera, malnutrition and uncertain medical care in Haiti or leave her seriously ill daughter behind? [Editor's note: The day she had to report to ICE, Jean Paul was notified that she would not be deported.]

Across America, many of us wish our government to stand with the Haitian people. Haiti still needs U.S. assistance. Please help by immediately staying deportations to Haiti and undoing the last administration's late-term policy reversal. It is the fair and decent course of action.


Haiti at a crossroads as donations dry up and upheaval looms BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
jcharles@MiamiHerald.com, Miami Herald, Jan. 15, 2009

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Hundreds were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in 2008 when hurricane rains washed their homes away. Joblessness deepened. Malnutrition magnified. Farms failed.

Haiti's misery is expected to deepen this year as its crippled economy and the global financial crisis collide with donor fatigue and increasing frustrations about the lack of social and economic progress.

''There is Haiti fatigue, or rather Haiti impatience, that after three to four years very little has been accomplished, and all of those natural catastrophes have compounded the problem,'' said Robert Fatton, a University of Virginia politics professor and Haiti expert. ``2009 is going to be a very difficult year in Haiti.''

The gloomy prognosis is widespread here and comes amid a global financial meltdown that has largely detracted world attention from the storms' devastation, the worst humanitarian disaster to hit Haiti in 100 years.

The grim outlook also comes as the focus shifts to constitutional reform and pending legislative elections. If not handled delicately, both could create a political storm with far-reaching ramifications, analysts and diplomats say.

Since the creation of Haiti's 1987 Constitution, the country has gone through several major political crises, most of them prompted by contested elections.

In an address to parliament this week, President René Préval said while Haiti has a respite from the agony of unrest, it remains at a fragile crossroads. He stressed the need for political and national dialogue.

''It's easier for each sector to stand alone and to criticize, and say what should have been done or what could be done. Why not sit down together to do what needs to be done,'' said Préval, who also emphasized the need for judicial reform, and modernizing the country in areas of technology and competitiveness. ``Dialogue is necessary, but it has to be constructed. It has to be organized.''

Haiti also needs investments and development. In recent months, Préval has accused donors of not doing enough to help Haiti crawl its way out of misery, and has called for fewer tanks from the United Nations peacekeeping force and more tractors.

Over the next week, donor nations will assess the needs in Haiti with visits from Governor General Michaelle Jean of Canada on Thursday and Queen Sofia of Spain next week.
Foreign diplomats, meanwhile, say Préval and Haiti's lackluster parliament lack focus and a sense of urgency.

''The international community may be tired of Haiti, but if there is no money, you will have more people coming to'' South Florida, said Alix Loriston, former U.N. World Food Program coordinator in Gonaives.

The epicenter of the disaster, Gonaives, still lacks a clear road map for its future. There is talk of reconstruction, but the absence of a government plan about what to do -- and money to either rebuild or relocate the historical city -- has left Gonaives' 300,000 residents with few options. Many remain in shelters and on rooftops, while others have had no other choice but to return to their mud-encased homes.

The storms struck just as Haiti was starting to show signs of progress after years of instability. Inflation was in the single digits, and 7,500 new jobs were injected into its stagnant job market after the U.S. Congress approved a textile trade bill.

Then came the fuel and food crisis, followed by a nearly five-month political impasse, the international economic meltdown and finally the storms. In a span of three weeks, Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike pounded the country, killing nearly 800, washing away livestock and millions of dollars' worth of rice, corn and plantain crops.

The economy contracted by 15 percent, and overnight, Haiti's misery and suffering went from chronic to acute.

''Haiti is at a tipping point that can go either way,'' World Bank President Robert Zoellick said during a three-day visit after the storms. ``We have to deal with the immediate needs to deal with the social instabilities. But there is also a chance to build. So we need to work with donors to take advantage of the good parts and make sure we ameliorate the terrible difficulties people have suffered.''

But donors have been lukewarm. Less donor support, means Haiti is running a $100 million budget deficit, officials say. And after months of emergency food distributions, WFP is preparing to end the servings because a U.N. emergency aid appeal to help stave off starvation and get cash in Haitians' pockets has not raised the $108 million envisioned.

Haiti has been ''the site of too many feel-good projects draped in national flags,'' Zoellick said in a speech about the dangers of aid fatigue and the need for new approaches on development assistance. ``Too many sterile debates about which comes first -- security or development.''

Haiti supporters, however, blast the World Bank and other lenders for not moving more swiftly to cancel Haiti's $1.7 billon external debt.

Some blame the problem on too many Haiti funding appeals. Others say the problem isn't money but a government that lacks leadership and clear priorities.

''President Préval has a really tough challenge on his hands . . . trying to rebuild a democratic state that had largely collapsed under Aristide and do it within the context set by [MINUSTAH, the U.N. Stabilization Mission] in a country which historically is proudly nationalistic and shirks at this kind of intervention,'' Thomas Shannon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, told The Miami Herald.

Shannon doesn't believe there is Haiti fatigue and dismisses criticism by some foreign diplomats here that the U.S. government, Haiti's largest single donor, is not doing enough to help the recovery.

''There is a lot going on, and it's not that Haiti has slipped off anybody's screen. People are overwhelmed right now by the financial crisis,'' Shannon said. ``With that said, it's too convenient to say things aren't moving as fast as they should be because we aren't as involved as we should be.''

Shannon said the U.S. government recognizes ``how important Haiti is, we understand the devastating impact of the hurricanes and how it has affected Haiti.''

But some question the U.S. commitment. After halting deportations to Haiti for more than three months, the Bush administration resumed them last month. A week later, it denied Préval's request to allow undocumented Haitians living here to remain temporarily until their storm-ravaged homeland recovers.

Meanwhile, concerns about the increased misery have donors pushing for another conference to raise much-needed funds for Haiti. But there is disagreement on the framework, or the time frame.

''There is no sufficiently clear signal from the government. We are ready to go and try and mobilize more people who can mobilize more resources,'' said Joel Boutroue, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti. ``They want to achieve concrete actions. We can't treat the donors conference like an auction either, lists of projects that you want to buy or not.''

Haitian Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Jean-Max Bellerive says officials are tired of donors pledging money without coordinating with the government. By getting them to commit to projects, Haitian officials can better hold donors accountable.

''Surely we need money, but we need better money,'' he said.

Sometimes, the government is unaware of a program's existence. Of the 3,000 nongovernment organization's (NGOs) operating in Haiti, only 400 are registered with his office, he said.

''We don't have any problems with the NGOs, but I've always said we need to know what they are doing and with what money and where,'' says Bellerive, currently working on a law requiring more accountability by NGOs and donors.

Donors say Haiti, by its own track record, doesn't have the capacity or people power to effectively administer programs. Without NGOs, they say, Haiti would be unable to adequately respond to the crisis.

Haiti supporters respond that after Hurricane Ike, the government dipped into its meager coffers and poured $200 million into the recovery effort to clear roads and replant crops.

''The government is trying to do its best, but the question of coordination between the government and donors is key,'' said a diplomat who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. ``When you consider the ups and down that this country faces, at some point, the sympathy for Haiti may be vanishing.''

Fatton agrees that the Haitian government needs to have a clearer plan and to improve communications with its partners. But he says the international community shares blame for Haiti's crumbling state, and calls its policies toward Haiti ``reckless.''

''What both actors have done is to confront one crisis after another without having a clear idea of how to resolve any of the crises,'' he said. ``There is a problem of leadership but there is also the problem of not having enough resources.''



Haitians snubbed again in bid for TPS - Our Opinion: Duplicity in administration policy for help after natural disasters
Jan. 7, 2009, Editorial, Miami Herald

The Bush administration continued its policy of cruelty and bias to Haitians with the recent rejection of President René Préval's request that undocumented Haitians be allowed to remain in the United States until their country recovers from last summer's devastating storms.

In a Dec. 19 letter to Mr. Préval, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledged that the four storms that drowned low-lying parts of Haiti in mud and misery had been ''severe.'' He reminded Mr. Préval of the tons of humanitarian relief supplies the United States has sent, including ''food, water, bed linens, medical supplies, hygienic items and clothing'' to help the country get back on its feet.

Others treated better
In the end, though, the rules for granting Haitians Temporary Protected Status are just too narrow, and Haitians don't qualify, Mr. Chertoff said. The rules were not so narrow in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch tore through Honduras and Nicaragua, nor in 2001 when an earthquake ripped through El Salvador. The United States granted TPS to more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants from those countries -- as it should have. More than 10 years after those disasters, the Bush administration granted Hondurans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans a renewal of TPS.

Why the administration chooses to treat Haitians differently is baffling. Mr. Chertoff's detailed explanation of the ''opportunities'' available to Haitian parolees and nonimmigrant lawful Haitians offers a clue.

The point is to discourage Haitians from leaving the island by not offering any help to undocumented Haitians who already are here. However, this is a rationale that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Haitians send nearly $1 billion in remittances back to Haiti, which accounts for almost a third of Haiti's annual GDP. A policy of aggressive repatriation makes matters worse in Haiti, increasing -- not decreasing -- the likelihood of mass departures.

Cruel ruling
Moreover, giving undocumented Haitians some status through TPS increases the chance that they will work, pay U.S. taxes and send money back to relatives in Haiti. Then, there is the matter of U.S. Coast Guard vessels that relentlessly patrol waters near the Haitian coast. U.S. maritime vigilance reduces the odds of an exodus from the island.
Considering the widespread destruction of homes, schools, roads, bridges and businesses in Haiti, it is highly unlikely that enough repairs can be made in time to protect many thousands of Haitians in the next hurricane season. All of which adds up to a U.S. policy that is needlessly cruel or deliberately biased. Haitians can hope that the next administration is better at applying the rules fairly to all.


IDB helps, ICE hurts Haiti
, Dec. 17, 2008, Editorial, Miami Herald

The decision by the Inter American Development Bank to offer Haiti an additional $50 million in assistance next year may be the best news that beleaguered Caribbean country has received in a long time. In a nation as poor as Haiti, that extra aid should make a difference in the lives of some of the neediest people.

''Haiti is the most fragile of our member countries,'' said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno when he announced the grant last weekend. ``No other nation in Latin America and the Caribbean is as vulnerable to economic shocks and natural disasters. As such, it requires extraordinary assistance from the international community.''

He's right. Simply giving Haiti more money won't put it on a stable footing, but the level of destitution is such that the country can't even begin to think about stability or rebuilding until it can improve its ability to feed and house its people and restart the economy.

That requires foreign aid. Other nations and international organizations should follow the IDB's example.

If the IDB is part of the solution for Haiti, the U.S. government agency that enforces immigration is part of the problem. By any measure, Haiti is ill-prepared to care for more destitute people, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- ICE -- has resumed deportations after a brief respite because of the devastation wreaked by this year's storms.

This wrongheaded decision makes no sense at all. The country remains in dire straits, a nation suffering from hunger, misery and a host of associated ills, yet ICE cited ''the circumstances in Haiti'' as the basis for resuming deportations.

Six South Florida members of Congress -- three Democrats and three Republicans -- have appealed to the White House to adopt a more compassionate position. ''Sending Haitian nationals back to Haiti is both inhumane and unsafe,'' Republican lawmakers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in their joint letter.

Mr. President, are you listening?



No good reason not to give Haiti TPS -- Our Opinion: Let Haitians living here help their country avoid chaos -- or worse, October 30, 2008, Editorial, Miami Herald

(This editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.
Source: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/337/story/55008.html)

It defies logical comprehension that the U.S. government refuses to grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to Haitians living in this country, as it has done for residents from other countries torn by political turmoil or natural disaster. Haiti was ripped apart by three storms in four weeks this summer and faces a Herculean challenge merely to feed and house the tens of thousands of people who lost everything they had in the devastation. Haiti had not even recovered from Tropical Storms Noel in 2007 and Jeanne in 2004, which together killed 2,566 people when this year's storms hit.

Haiti President Rene Preval, Catholic bishops, members of Congress and international leaders, among others, have pleaded with the Bush administration for months to provide TPS to Haitians -- to no avail. The only thing left to do is to continue to make the pleas in hopes of finding a spark of compassion.

If the administration thinks that granting TPS to Haitians would set off a mass exodus from the impoverished island, it could not be more wrong. TPS would have the opposite effect. TSP would allow undocumented Haitians already in this country to remain here for up to 18 months without fear of being deported. Last year, Haitians living here and elsewhere sent $1.8 billion to relatives back home. Allowing them to stay and work here would ensure that the dollars keep flowing. That kind of direct aid, coupled with other relief efforts, would help Haiti recover quicker.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald .



Help for Haiti
Editorial, New York Times, October 12, 2008

This year has been especially cruel to Haiti, with four back-to-back storms that killed hundreds of people, uprooted tens of thousands more and obliterated houses, roads and crops. A far richer country would have been left reeling; Haiti is as poor as poor gets in this half of the globe. Those who have seen the damage say it is hard to convey the new depths of misery there.

The Bush administration promised Haiti $10 million in emergency aid and Congress has since authorized $100 million for relief and reconstruction. The United Nations has issued a global appeal for another $100 million. We have no doubt that Haiti will need much more.

There is something the United States can do immediately to help Haitians help themselves. It is to grant “temporary protected status” to undocumented Haitians in the United States, so they can live and work legally as their country struggles back from its latest catastrophe.

This is the same protection that has been given for years, in 18-month increments, to tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans and others whose countries have been afflicted by war, earthquakes and hurricanes.

While the Bush administration has temporarily stopped deporting Haitians since Hurricane Ike last month, it has not been willing to go the next step of officially granting temporary protected status to the undocumented Haitians living here.

Haiti’s president, René Préval, and members of Congress have urged the administration to change its mind. We urge the same.

There is very little that is consistent in the United States’ immigration policies toward its nearest neighbors, except that the rawest deal usually goes to the Haitians. Cubans who make it to dry land here are allowed to stay; those intercepted at sea are not.
Hondurans and Nicaraguans who fled Hurricane Mitch 10 years ago have seen their temporary protected status renewed, as have Salvadorans uprooted by earthquakes in 2001.

Haiti, meanwhile, more than meets the conditions that immigration law requires for its citizens here to receive temporary protected status, including ongoing armed conflict and a dire natural or environmental disaster that leaves a country unable to handle the safe return of its migrants.

If Haiti is ever going to find the road to recovery after decades of dictatorship, upheaval and decay, it will take more than post-hurricane shipments of food and water. Haiti desperately needs money, trade, investment and infrastructure repairs.

It also needs the support of Haitians in the United States, who send home more than $1 billion a year. What it does not need, especially right now, is a forced influx of homeless, jobless deportees.

Haiti After the Storms: Weather and Conflict

United States Institute of Peace, November, 2008

In September 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms—Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike—slammed into Haiti with devastating force. Nearly 800 people were killed, 300 remain missing and more than 500 were injured. More than 150,000 people were displaced. Cities and towns were inundated with mud. Roads, bridges, crops and factories were destroyed. Damage to infrastructure was so great that helicopters and boats were required to reach parts of the island. Millions were left at risk of starvation. International aid officials warned that shortages could spark the kind of food riots that erupted in April of this year.

The impact of the storms reversed a period of steady economic progress. Haiti’s President, Rene Préval, told the U.N. General Assembly that the storms set Haiti’s economy back several years. Following a survey of the damage, World Bank President Robert Zoellick concluded that Haiti was at “a tipping point.” An editorial in the Miami Herald warned that as a result of the storms, Haiti could “fall into a bottomless pit of hunger, disease, crime, poverty and desperation that would make the preceding decade of poverty, violence and instability look benign in comparison.”

The challenge facing Haiti and the international response to the crisis was discussed by a panel of distinguished experts at a recent meeting sponsored by the Institute’s Haiti Working Group. Principal speakers included:

Yvonne Tsikata, country director for Caribbean Affairs at the World Bank
Joseph Tilghman, country officer for Haiti at the Department of State
Robert Maguire, USIP Jennings Randolph fellow

An Unprecedented Reconstruction Challenge
(A woman walks through a neighborhood destroyed by floods in Gonaives, Haiti, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. (AP Photo))

A joint assessment conducted by the World Bank, the U.N. and the European Union concluded that total losses from the storms could equal 15 percent of Haiti’s gross national product—making it the largest disaster in a century. A few statistics sketch out the extent of the destruction. One third of Haiti’s rice crop, which is the main source for domestic food consumption, plus livestock, seeds and farm equipment were destroyed. The storms occurred during the harvest, which means there will be no reserves or seeds for the coming year. Haiti’s second most politically important city, Gonaives, was primarily affected. Major portions of the city remain buried in mud and at least 80 percent of the city’s population was left homeless. Since many of the displaced were forced to seek shelter in school buildings, many schools have been unable to reopen, thereby delaying the start of the school year. Housing, which was already inadequate, took a direct hit with nearly 23,000 homes destroyed and more than 84,000 damaged. There is little prospect for replacement or repair in the near term.

The storms struck at the end of a difficult six-month period. In April 2008, rising international prices for food and fuel resulted in a spike in the cost of living in Haiti that sent protesters into the streets in several cities. U.N. security forces fired into mobs that looted stores and set fire to vehicles and public buildings. Five Haitians and one U.N. peacekeeper were killed in the violence. Following the disturbances, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, received a no-confidence vote in parliament, plunging the country into a political crisis. Two nominees for prime minister were then rejected by the parliament before the new prime minister, Michele Pierre-Louis, was approved with a hurricane literally bearing down on the island. She will now have to manage the recovery and reconstruction process as well as address the country’s chronic problems.

International Response: Helpful But Missing the Mark
After the storms, the U.N., the World Bank, donor countries, NGOs, the Haitian diaspora and local governments and private citizens in the U.S. contributed recovery assistance. The U.N. issued a formal appeal for $108 million. The World Bank offered $25 million in additional aid. The U.S. delivered $31 million in storm-related assistance, including medical supplies, plastic sheeting, kitchen utensils and other emergency needs. The helicopter carrier USS Kearsarge used its helicopters and landing craft to ferry 3.3 million pounds of food, water, and relief supplies, plus medical personnel to hard-hit and otherwise inaccessible communities. Actor Brad Pitt and rock star Wyclef Jean gave benefit concerts. School boards in Broward County and other south Florida districts made well-publicized offers of mobile classrooms to enable the reopening of schools where buildings were destroyed or used as homeless shelters. Congress included $100 million in hurricane relief for the Caribbean in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act. It is expected that nearly all of this amount ($97 million) will go to Haiti.

At the same time, critics charged that the level of international response was inadequate for the up to $1.2 billion needed for overall recovery and reconstruction. The amount given also fell short in comparison to the assistance provided to other areas that experienced similar disasters. By comparison, following the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Mitch in Central America, long-term, multi-billion dollar assistance programs were established to ensure full recovery. Even the U.N.’s relatively restrained request for emergency aid has been partially subscribed. On October 27, 2008, John Holmes, U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, announced that only $45 million had been pledged in response to the U.N.’s total assistance request of $108 million. After touring impacted areas in Haiti, he issued an urgent appeal for donors to do more, noting that six weeks remained in this year’s hurricane season.

On Capital Hill, members of Congress with a longstanding interest in Haiti urged additional steps to boost the country’s economy. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and representatives from southern Florida called upon the administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians currently residing in the U.S. This would allow Haitians to remain in the U.S. and to work legally with the expectation that they would send remittances back to Haiti. The administration immediately suspended deportation of Haitians after the storms, but has been unwilling to grant TPS out of fear that it would create a magnet for illegal Haitian migration.

The question of Haiti’s debts was a related issue. CBC members called upon the U.S. and the international financial institutions (IFIs) to forgive all of Haiti’s $1.7 billion in international debt. Concerning IFIs, Haiti is in the final stages of the World Bank/IMF Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), but is not expected to reach completion until mid-2009. Haiti is scheduled to repay over $50 million annually to multinational institutions, plus a much smaller amount in bilateral debt service. IFI representatives have noted that Haiti is on track to complete the HIPC process and the amount of debt repayment is manageable given the overall level of donor assistance.
Finally, Congressional representatives expressed hope that textile manufactures will respond to the investment incentives contained in the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act that provides trade preferences for Haiti. Initial assessments are that HOPE I (adopted in 2007) created from 5,000 to 7,000 new jobs in the Haitian textile industry, but exports totaled less than ten percent of the volume allowed by the law. HOPE II, passed this year, contains expanded incentives that it is anticipated will promote new investment and additional job creation.

Haitian Responses are a Step Forward, but a “Game-Changer” is Needed
Haiti’s government took a number of critical steps as the storms approached and in their aftermath. Prior to the storms, the country’s Office for Disaster Preparedness issued warnings over radio and television that were credited with reducing the casualties relative to previous years. The Civilian Protection Unit of the Ministry of Interior prioritized needs and managed distribution of some relief supplies. The Finance Ministry waived import regulations and customs duties on relief shipments. These were encouraging signs that disaster preparedness works and that Haiti’s government has become increasingly self-reliant and responsible. After the storms, Préval spoke at the U.N. and visited Florida to champion an ambitious plan to upgrade Haiti’s infrastructure and environment to effectively withstand future storms. He called for the rerouting of rivers around Gonaives and other coastal cities, dredging harbors, building sewers and drainage networks, massive reforesting and constructing flood-resistant roads and bridges. These steps would end the annual cycle of storm damage and emergency relief that leaves Haiti equally vulnerable for the next hurricane season.

Préval’s appeal struck a responsive cord. There is talk in New York and Washington about a “game changing initiative” for Haiti that would provide the relatively large amounts of funding and the management and engineering skills required. This may involve convening a long delayed donors meeting to discuss moving beyond recovery to poverty reduction efforts such as increasing agricultural production. These conversations are in the formative stages, but international observers have been encouraged that Haiti does not want to be viewed as a victim, but seeks to move forward. Haitians appear intent on getting on with their lives, rebuilding and improving their future. There was a general feeling among those attending the working group that Haiti’s most valuable resource is the spirit of its people and that their efforts should be supported.


Haitians need help now, solutions for stable future
By EDWIDGE DANTICAT, September 23, 2008

Haiti desperately needs your help.

While most Americans have understandably been concerned about Hurricane Ike’s assault on Texas, people in Haiti just a few hundred miles away are suffering an even worse fate.

More than a week after Ike assaulted Haiti, people in Gonaives, the country’s third-largest city, were still stranded on rooftops and trapped by rivers of mud. Others in remote areas remained huddled in schools and churches, their villages cut off from the capital by washed out bridges and roads.

At least 1,000 deaths have been reported, with more expected as the waters recede. A million people remain homeless. Crops and livestock have been wiped out, making an already chronically dire hunger situation worse.

Haiti is not just on the brink of disaster, as Haitian President Rene Preval noted in his plea for international aid. It is over the brink.

Right now, Haiti needs all the help it can get, with food, drinking water, medical supplies and shelter being at the top of the list.

Haiti’s neighbors and the international community must not only find the will and compassion to help the country’s desperate survivors at this time, but they need to ensure a steady supply of aid down the road. Haiti’s problems will not recede with the floodwaters, and the international community must recognize this.

For its part, the Haitian government, which had begun to invest heavily in agriculture in the devastated regions, needs to continue to pursue long-term solutions, including large-scale reforestation and alternative fuels to replace the charcoal production that has left Haiti with less than 2 percent tree cover. It is also vital that Haitians living and working in the United States not be deported back to Haiti at this devastating time.

Deportations threaten the only consistent type of aid that Haitians receive. It comes in the form of $2 billion in remittances from friends and relatives abroad.

The U.S. government may fear that granting Haitians temporary protection status, as it did with Hondurans and Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch in 1998, will encourage mass migration to U.S. shores. However, it is mass starvation and political instability that have encouraged Haitian sea migration more than anything else.

Haitians are strong and proud and determined, and most will survive this latest in a string of political and natural disasters. But at this most vulnerable time, they need your help to overcome the immediate crisis and implement long-term solutions.

Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American writer, lives in Miami.


Letter to the Editor
Haitians need TPS, finally
by Former State Representative Phillip J. Brutus, Miami Herald,
January 12, 2009

Loath that I am to conclude that President Bush's decision to deny temporary protected status to Haitian nationals smacks of racism, there seems no other rationale for such an incomprehensible decision.

When one considers that the administration just renewed the TPS status of nationals of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua -- countries that have fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Mitch and an earthquake years ago -- denying the same temporary relief to a country that has suffered from two hurricanes back to back this year, that decision simply makes no sense. Towns in Haiti still are buried by mudslides. While we are happy for the much-needed respite people from those Central American countries now enjoy, Haitians facing deportation can only wail in silence.
The administration has again confirmed its penchant for irrational decisions, misguided policies and downright meanness. Let us hope that President-elect Obama will include TPS for Haitians in the legions of ill-advised Bush policies he was given a mandate to change.

PHILLIP J. BRUTUS, Former State Representative, North Miami


Inhumane to deport Haitians, Dec. 29, 2008
alceehastings.house.gov | Miami Herald

This past summer, only months after deadly food riots, Haiti was hit by four back-to-back hurricanes and tropical storms. Thousands lost their homes, many were left starving and isolated from humanitarian assistance, nearly 800 lives were taken and as of last month, over 300 people remain missing.

Though recovery efforts have slowly commenced, much of Haiti remains in a state of destruction. Up to 40,000 people are in shelters, and severe malnutrition concerns have arisen throughout rural areas. It, therefore, came as an utter shock to hear that our government recently decided to restart deporting people to this fragile nation.

Deportation flights of Haitian nationals back to Haiti had been suspended in the immediate aftermath of the storms after considerable pressure from congressional offices and local immigration advocates. Many of us hoped that this was a sign that the Department of Homeland Security and this administration were finally taking note of the struggles facing Haiti and recognizing that it would be dangerous and inhumane to send people back to Haiti given the country's current state. Yet once again, this administration has turned its back on our hemisphere's poorest nation by pursuing this dangerous and irresponsible course of action.

While the resumption of deportations is troubling enough, the way in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) went about implementing this change is further disappointing. When deportations were initially suspended, ICE assured me and other congressional members and community organizations that we would be adequately notified should deportation flights resume.

Yet, when the decision to resume flights was made, Democratic offices were never contacted about the change while Republican offices were -- though those notifications did not come until after deportations had already resumed. Even now, ICE has refused to provide an adequate explanation as to what prompted this sudden change in policy and who made the decision.

Throughout South Florida, hundreds of our constituents are shocked and confused by this abrupt and unexpected announcement. Many are concerned for the physical safety of loved ones who may very well be dropped into life-threatening conditions. Instead of endangering the lives of Haitians, the United States should be working to help Haiti help itself. We should not only suspend deportations to Haiti but also grant Haitians currently residing in the United States Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

TPS allows certain foreign nationals to remain temporarily in the United States when any of the following conditions exist in their home country: 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 that prevent aliens from returning.

Haiti has long met the requirements for TPS, and it is now more vital than ever that the United States extend this helping hand to Haiti, as it has done for other nations in similar situations.

The United States has provided $235 million in aid to Haiti in the past year. This amount is dwarfed, however, by the nearly $1 billion in remittances sent by Haitians back to Haiti, totaling approximately one third of the country's GDP. The repatriation of Haitians will only further hamper Haiti's recovery efforts.

The decision to resume deportations and the process by which ICE went about alerting those who will be most directly impacted has once again shown poor judgment and outright carelessness by President George W. Bush and his administration.

Although we are hopeful that the Obama administration will pursue a more rational and just approach to our nation's policies toward Haiti, the people who are being taken into harm's way cannot afford to wait until Jan. 20.

Deportation flights must be stopped immediately, and Haitians must finally be granted TPS.

U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings represents the 23rd District of Florida.

Will Haitians Be Spared Deportation After All?

CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Tues. Mar. 10, 2009: Many in the Haitian community are waiting now with bated breath to see if the Barack Obama administration will change its mind on deporting more than 30,000 Haitians, now that Patrick Gaspard has met with activists.

The White House has yet to make an official statement on the issue or Gaspard`s visit to Florida Friday, but well-placed sources privy to behind the scenes discourse, tell CWNN that unofficially, all deportations have been halted, without any public announcement. The Haitian voting bloc in South Florida was ardently courted by team Obama and of course his Haitian American political director, Gaspard.

The USICE, the agency that handles the issues, could not be reached for comment on the claim late yesterday.

The claim comes as Florida Congressmembers Kendrick Meek and Alcee Hastings are set to meet with Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, today to discuss the situation, according to our source.

`The officials need time to discuss what’s going to happen on a longer term, before a statement can be made. But all options are on the table, including Temporary Protected Status and DED (Deferred Enforcement Departure), with regular revisions of the Haitian situation,` said the source.

But apparently some U.S. officials fear that a Haitian TPS may become similar to the program for some Central American countries, which have had it for years, long after the original situation that called for it has been rectified. Or, worst, trigger an exodus of Haitians from the poverty stricken country of Haiti.

The ongoing focus on the issue comes as a United Nations human rights expert on Friday called on the United States not to deport undocumented Haitians as their country still hadn't recovered from the destruction caused by last year's hurricanes.

Michel Forst, an independent human rights expert, said the US Department of Homeland Security should not deport `tens of thousands` of Haitians living illegally in the U.S.
Forst said other countries hit by natural disasters had been granted Temporary Protected Status by Washington, which allowed them to receive US assistance. But Haiti was not given that status, he claimed, even though consecutive hurricanes devastated the country and impacted an estimated 800,000 people.

`It would therefore be normal to continue to provide support and assistance to all undocumented Haitian migrants living in the US until the situation has improved in their homeland,` Forst said in his appeal to the U.S. government.

Human rights experts say TPS is the least expensive and most immediate form of humanitarian assistance the US could give Haiti. – By CWNN Staffwriter.


UN expert urges US not to deport thousands back to hurricane-ravaged Haiti, UN News Center, March 10, 2009

6 March 2009 – An independent United Nations human rights expert today asked the United States Government to reconsider deporting tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants in light of the physical and financial damage inflicted on the impoverished Caribbean nation by a series of hurricanes last August.

In a news release issued in Geneva, Michel Forst voiced deep concern at reports that the US Department of Homeland Security, and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, is planning to deport the immigrants.

According to a recent evaluation cited by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Hédi Annabi, the four back-to-back storms that struck the country from mid-August to mid-September “comprehensively destroyed what little infrastructure there was.”

A total of some 800,000 Haitians either lost their homes entirely or were badly affected by the storms which also left 800 people dead.

In addition, the global financial crisis has worsened a food emergency brought about by the widespread destruction of the country’s crops during the hurricanes, and critical infrastructure, including bridges and roads, have been wiped out. The storms are believed to have destroyed around 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Considering the extent of the damage to homes, schools, roads, bridges and businesses in Haiti, it is highly unlikely that sufficient repairs can be carried out in time for this year’s hurricane season, and as a result many thousands of Haitians will be left without protection,” Mr. Forst said.

Mr. Forst has written to the Secretary of Homeland Security, urging the Government to reconsider its decision. “While acknowledging that the hurricanes and storms that drowned low-lying parts of Haiti in mud and misery had been ‘severe,’ you have concluded on the basis of recommendations provided by the US administration that ‘Haiti does not currently warrant a Temporary Protected Status (TPS),’” he noted.
When other countries in the region have been struck by natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, with similar devastating impact to the destruction inflicted on Haiti, those countries have been granted TPS, Mr. Forst added.

“It would therefore be normal to continue to provide support and assistance to all undocumented Haitian migrants living in the US, until the situation has improved in their homeland,” he said.

According to many experts, TPS is the least expensive and most immediate form of humanitarian assistance the US could provide to Haiti, since it would allow the Haitian Government to invest all its limited resources in reconstruction, and the redevelopment of its struggling economy.

Today’s development comes ahead of a visit to the country on Monday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former US President Bill Clinton, aimed at raising awareness of efforts to help Haiti’s Government and people bolster their economic security.

Following that, a delegation from the UN Security Council will begin a visit to the country on 11 March. Ambassador Jorge Urbina of Costa Rica, who is leading the mission, briefed reporters today in New York on the main purpose and programme of the visit.

“The members of the Council intend to convey a strong message of continued support to the Government and people of Haiti in rebuilding their country after the natural disasters that took place last year, consolidating peace and stability and promoting recovery and sustainable development,” he stated.

The Council is expected to meet with President René Préval, Prime Minister Michèle Pierre Louis and several government ministers, as well as representatives of the National Assembly and the Senate, party leaders and parliamentarians.

The delegation will also meet also with the electoral authorities to review the preparations for the upcoming polls, and members of the UN Country Team and the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH.

“By carrying out such an extension programme, the Council wants to underline the importance of the mutual commitments made by the international community and Haiti,” Mr. Urbina said.

We think: Mass deportations of Haitians isn't the answer
, Editorial, Orlando Sentinel, March 6, 2009

President Obama has a lot on his plate these days. The economy alone is a whopper of a problem that will occupy his agenda for the foreseeable future.

But that's no reason for the president to condone the counterproductive deportation of Haitians. Immigrant advocates have long called for the U.S. government to grant temporary protected status to Haitians, which would allow a limited number of refugees to live and work legally in the United States until their storm-battered country stabilizes.

What they ask for is nothing more than what refugees from a handful of Central American countries have been granted in the aftermath of natural disasters. But such demands fell on deaf ears during George W. Bush's presidency, despite evidence of inhumane conditions in Haiti , which is still trying to recover from four hurricanes and food shortages.

Now what is even more disturbing are the ongoing deportations, which the Bush administration halted in September at the request of the Haitian government, resumed in mid-December and continue under Obama's presidency. Haitian families are being torn asunder as parents are sent back to Haiti, leaving their U.S.-born children behind. This poses all sorts of problems for regions of Florida where social-service agencies, already strained by the faltering economy, must care for the children whose parents have been deported.

The Haitian government, meanwhile, has announced that it will continue to stall most deportations until the Obama administration decides whether to grant protected status, which means most of the deportees are being detained at the expense of the U.S. government.

Wouldn't it be better to release the parents and let them work to support their families, both here and in Haiti , like most Haitians do when given a chance? The deportations must stop now, and the Obama administration must grant protected status to Haitians.
rotected status to Haitians.



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