promises: Change did not come by Ezili
Obama's foreign policy has continued
the failed George W. Bush policies. War rages on in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Torture is no big deal, none of the torturers are being punished for
violating the US Constitution, the Guantanamo closing was put off, some
detainees only reshuffled and the same old Wall Street tycoons who took
down the country now head Obama's economic policies and programs. Unemployment
is at an all time high, more so amongst Blacks of course, and the Wall
Street bailout mostly didn't help Main Street. It's still the rule of
big business as usual. But, if Americans are suffering increase in credit
card debt and job loss from the global economic crisis, imagine what
the high cost of living, fuel prices, fewer remittances from abroad
and the same old imperialist policies are doing to Haiti and the world’s
During his campaign Barack Obama promised change from the 8-years of
failed Bush policies, but he’s surrendered to the corporate interests
and the Haitian
Oligarchy in Haiti, leaving the majority poor out in the
cold, as usual. Banned not only from elections that the US is financing
at the tune of $18 million dollars but subject to unfair wages and a
gross UN occupation that preserves corporate interests.
to Obama's empty "Wi Nou Kapab - Yes We Can" promise for change
did not stop, Haitians were not granted TPS, political prisoners
were not released, US HOPE Act enabled the Haitian Oligarchy to reject
fairer minimum wages. UN/MINUSTAH soldiers, known to the Haitian poor
as the "vampires of leisure" in Haiti, continued their sexual
assaults and killing of Haitians with impunity even with Bill Clinton
being named as UN Special Envoy to Haiti and Paul Farmer as his Deputy
Envoy. NGO's continue to undermine Haitian government. There's no
oversight or accountability on USAID. False foreign aid,
false charity, harmful food
aid and unfair trade, continues. Foreign pillaging of Haiti
resources and riches with the exclusion
of the Haitian people and no sharing of profits with poor
Haitians to raise the majority's standard of living, continues under
Last year around this time, Father Jean Juste was still alive, a pioneering
champion in the struggle for human rights for Haitians living at home
and in the US. This year this giant fighter for Haitian human rights
and sovereignty is gone but he left us a path to follow. So, we begin
this piece by inviting everyone to visit our pages in Homage
to Father Gerard Jean Juste, the special photographic report
PhotoGallery - Wake and Funeral of Father Gerard Jean Juste,
and our report on Father
Jean Juste's final days, the Miami funeral and the negative Miami Herald
reporting, which Ezili's HLLN summarily exposed that you'll
not read about anywhere else. (See, Ezili's
HLLN Blasts Miami Herald's Coverage of Jean Juste Memorial - Reports
the Counter-Colonial Narrative.)
Last year around this time HLLN was writing about how:
Donations Rot in New York while Haitian Storm Victims Starve and Die
Reporting that Deportations to storm-crippled Haiti, which George W.
Bush had stopped for three months from Sept to Dec. 9, 2008, had just
We were urging a stop to all deportations to Haiti and that Haitians
be granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as well as helping to mobilize
"critical" support for the presidential vote, pushing for
Obama to win the White House so a less tyrannical US presence could
be established in Haiti.
HLLN crafted a Haiti position paper and submitted it to the Obama Team
even before he was elected. (What
Haitian-Americans Ask of the New U.S. President)
We wrote: "Haitian-Americans ask the next US president and
Congress to....end the UN occupation; stop unequal immigration treatment
of Haitian refugees and asylum seekers; cancel, without condition, Haiti's
debt to international financial institutions; void unfair trade, start
reciprocal trade, restrict free trade so not to dump food and other
imports into Haiti that eviscerate Haiti's domestic growth and by also
calibrating to Haiti's domestic needs for agricultural expansion, public
works, job creation, health care, schools, sanitation, infrastructure,
and by adding enforceable human rights, labor, environmental rights
provisions in US trade laws; permanently stop all deportations to Haiti,
grant TPS; stop trading for Haiti with USAID, demand new foreign aid
guidelines and oversight of USAID in Haiti. Investigate the role of
US in the 2004 coup d'etat where US Special forces forcibly exiled President
Jean Bertrand Aristide via an unmarked plane used for renditions."
Barack Obama came into office and sent Bill
Clinton to Haiti with a "development plan" for
more sweatshops enabling the Haitian Oligarchy and President Rene Preval
to reject a mere .63 cents an hour minimum wage increase in order to
please US sweatshop owners.
So, today in Haiti, it's better for the people NOT to work at the measly
$3.00 per day (.38 cents an hour) jobs than to work! Most times transportation
and lunch cost more than the worker makes per day. Food in Haiti, like
everything else, is imported from the US (via extortionist "free-trade"
policies forced upon Haiti) and costly.
Meanwhile, one of the first clues to Haitians that Obama would be more
of the same as George W. Bush for Haiti and that there would be no TPS
was the prompt release, on Feb 27, 2009, of a study singling out Haitians
amongst all other ethnic groups for deportation. The study revealed
that in a span of 20 or more years, 30,000 Haitians had been ordered
deported by US Federal immigration judges. No information was released
for any other nationalities who had been ordered deported, only Haitians.
And only to escalate fear of a Black planet if Obama was even contemplating
allowing 30,000 disease-ridden Black Haitians to remain in the US! (Haitian
Community Activist Jean Montrevil Faces Deportation
gives Houston teacher a reprieve.)
After that little media propaganda, there was no more talk of Obama
granting TPS to Haitians.
In fact, it seemed that Obama's Homeland Security felt it must make
it a priority to hunt down, apprehend, incarcerate and deport Haitian
asylum seekers to storm ravaged, famine-stricken Haiti, never mind this
was in contravention to international and US national refugee laws for
providing safe haven, right to life, security of person, equality under
the law and to seek and receive asylum. HLLN asked the question "There
are approximately 560,000 ordered deportees in the US, why are only
the 30,000 from Haiti being SELECTED for enforcement priority and/or
highlighted in the media by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
on the report that 30,000 Haitians have been ordered deported by US
Federal immigration judges.)
Today Haitians are being routinely deported to Haiti. But others, like
the Liberians, whose President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a US sycophant
who went to Harvard, Obama's alma mater, and who is providing their
territory as a launching pad perhaps for US military command for Africa
were granted DED by Obama immediately.
Approximately 20,000 Liberians living in the U.S. who had TPS that was
about to expire, had their status extended. Their humanitarian needs
and circumstances are similar to that of Haitians. But no TPS or DED
for Haiti from Obama. Nothing for Haitians. No.
With Haiti, the US has already TAKEN everything they want, via the proxy
UN occupation and the shock and awe of the 2004
Coupnapping of democratically-elected President Aristide.
There's no need to negotiate or cajole when all has been attained by
force already from defenseless Haitians and the UN occupation is deflecting
charges of imperialism and racism while a USAID/NGO shadow government
cancels out Preval's puppet government. (Video
- Emiliano Echeverria & Pierre Labossiere: Coups in Honduras and
Last year, in December of 2008, and some three months after the most
severe hurricanes to hit Haiti in remembered times - the four 2008 Haiti
hurricanes/storms - according to human rights organizations, famine
and disease had settled in and the people in the badly hit town of Gonaives
were still living on rooftops. Various reports indicated that foreign
aid and donations had unraveled, especially because the international
NGOs and humanitarian organizations were not working in cooperation
with the Haitian government, routinely by-passing them. There was no
clear coordination among them.
Towards the end of October 2008, at least 26
severely malnourished children died in the Baie d'Orange
communal section in Belle-Anse, a remote region of Haiti.
Also in December, there was a school collapse where almost 100 children
In New York, 65 tons of food collected by New York Haitians for Haiti
still remained in storage after four months because USAID instructed
the food had to go to one of its approved NGOs, not directly to the
Haitian government. Ezili's HLLN was told, upon inquiring why these
donations were not flown out as urgency demanded, that the Federal Government
declined transport and even when New York offered to pay for transport,
their National Guards were denied
airspace clearance. It seemed that USAID, as the US Federal
Government agency in charge, would rather see the collected food, water
and medicine rot than have their contractors NOT make money off its
shipment and delivery in Haiti! And, it did rot in a warehouse in New
York while the storm-ravaged people New York Haitians had collected
it for, starved and died.
Aid workers and even a
US lawmaker expressed fear that the death toll could rise
much higher as more Haitian children starve and die without ever receiving
appropriate nutrition therapy. Compounding this was the worldwide financial
and food crisis requiring the bailout of the most wealthy in the world.
According to the U.N. the world wide resulting high food prices created
This was about the time, Ezili's HLLN stepped up its TPS
campaign, stating that under these circumstances, it was
not the time to deport Haitians, who are providing the most direct aid
to Haiti and sending life-saving remittances to their starving families,
to storm crippled-Haiti..." (See, No
other national group anywhere in the world sends money home in higher
proportion than Haitians living abroad.)
Our concerns fell on deaf ears.
was elected and he did less than even Bush. For, at least
Bush had stopped all deportations to Haiti for three months.
Since Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009, Haitians are routinely
deported, held in chains in ICE detention centers and or with monitoring
During the funeral of Father Jean Juste, the UN
shot a mourner to death and said it was the crowd that killed
him. During a 3 am helicopter operations, Rinvil Jean Weldy, a local
resident investigating the dead-of-night helicopter landing in his Grand
Goave town, was shot
in the arm by a UN soldier. The UN said, according to the
Haitian press, that the bullet was in the imagination of the crazy Haitians,
the injured man simply fell on a prickly bush!
In terms of UN soldiers and humanitarian
workers engaging in sexual exploitation of Haiti's children Canadian
Priest John Duarte is in court facing
nine counts of sexually exploiting adolescent boys in Port-au-Prince
and the northern village of Labadie, where he ran a mission. US missionary
Douglas Perlitz has been indicted in
the US on nearly identical charges for sexually abusing nine boys in
Cap-Haitien. The UN released a report where the 114-Sri Lankan soldiers
who were deported from Haiti for building a brothel in Martissant, charged
with sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of minors, prostitution and
rape, have mostly not been punished. Sexual exploitation and rape by
soldiers is a war crime. But there's been no punishment for UN soldiers
violating Haitians. (See, I
am the history of rape; Sri
Lankan Army Peace keepers Abusing Children in Haiti and BBC
News Sri Lanka Army Sexually Abuse 100s Haiti.)
Haiti's largest political party has
from the upcoming Feb. elections. There are over 6,440 very poor Haitians
in jails, many since 2004, guarded by UN soldiers back-up firepower.
They've not been charged, seen a judge or had a hearing. But the Obama
team is saying Haiti is now "open for business." (See also,
Ezili Dantò Book Review - TRAVESTY in Haiti : A true account
of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking...
Leclerc imperative: debt, free trade, wage slavery, UN occupation;
provoke mourners, gun down unarmed, blames it on victims;
in Haiti - Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation, and
Holocaust and Middle Passage Continues.)
Ohh, I forgot, someone reported a "very good" thing happened
to Haiti in 2009. Yep, tremendous. Bill Clinton named Paul Farmer as
his deputy UN Envoy to Haiti! It now takes a UN motorcade of lots of
bullet-proof cars and heavily armed guards to transport the good doctor
around Haiti. How marvelous is that for Haiti's poor! Officialdom imperialist
envoy must be protected from them there brutal peasant Haitians.
Anyway that's THEIR notion of progress...in Haiti! (Listen
to Obama's empty "Wi Nou Kapab - Yes We Can" promise for change
But... never mind all this, here's the
Obama New Year's message to Haiti, via a message from Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton on the occasion of the 206 anniversary of Haiti's
independence. Happy New Year under US/UN occupation Haiti. With love,
from Barack Obama:
message From Secretary Hillary Clinton on the occasion of the 206 anniversary
of Haiti's independence)
Repubic of Haiti Independence Day
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
December 29, 2009
On behalf of President Obama and the people of United States, I congratulate
the people of the Republic of Haiti as they celebrate their 206th anniversary
of independence on January 1, 2010.
This is an occasion to honor the history and heritage of Haiti and to
remember the heroes who founded the first independent black republic,
not just the icons such as Toussaint Louverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines
and Alexandre Petion, but also the countless men and women who stood
up for their right to live as free people and gave a legacy of freedom
for future generations. Their accomplishment changed the face of our
world, and their story continues to be an inspiration today.
We also salute the many contributions that Haitian-Americans have made
to the culture and prosperity of the United States. Our two nations
are bound by strong bonds of friendship and family, united both by our
shared history and our common hopes for the future.
The United States stood with Haiti after the tragic hurricanes of 2008,
and we remain committed to being a partner and a friend. This has been
a year for rebuilding and renewal, and Haitians can be proud of their
accomplishments. As 2010 begins, Haiti is poised for a strong future,
ready to provide leadership toward its own economic growth, health,
I offer my warmest wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year.
# # #
Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Righteous Prayer – Lapriyè Boukman
January 1, 2010 will make 206 years since Haiti abolished slavery, direct
colonialism and became an independent Black nation. Since the assassination
of Haiti's founding father, two years after independence, Haiti has
been struggling against neocolonialism. To re-member the ancestors'
struggle and triumph, HLLN posts last year's Jan 1st essay: 2009
- Another Haitian Independence Day under occupation.
It's child labor that must be addressed and ended in Haiti, not slavery.
Slavery in Haiti the Media Won't Expose
Lankan Army Peace keepers Abusing Children in Haiti
News Sri Lanka Army Sexually Abuse 100s Haiti
- Emiliano Echeverria & Pierre Labossiere: Coups in Honduras and
Holocaust and Middle Passage Continues
the Truth About Haiti Forum 2010 with Ezili Dantò
Earthquake Devastates Haiti
WHAT CAN YOU
relief with human rights
Support Haitian-led, Haiti-capacity
building relief effort - sustain human rights, healing and dignity.
Help us save and protect the lives, lands, property and human rights
of the Haitian survivors displaced by the 2010 earthquake.
Relief: Rescue and Recovery
Right now Haiti needs rescue
and recovery teams, emergency personnel, doctors and nurses who can
provide immediate help to the earthquake victims, help with injuries,
surgery and digging those still alive out from under the rubble, provide
trauma counseling, food, water, medicine, blankets and shelter.
Haiti needs professionals
who are well versed in disaster rescue, recovery and who can bring the
relevant life saving equipment and technology needed to lift up the
pulverized concrete off crushed victims who are still buried under the
rubble. If you are a nurse or doctor or part of such a rescue team,
that's what Haiti needs and we suggest you coordinate these efforts
DIRECTLY with the Haitian government. Haitians should
not be sidelined. Also, there are many Haitian professional associations
gathering forces to go to Haiti and collaboration is recommended. To
coordinate and synchronize immediate emergency responses and medical
assistance, we suggest you contact our Haitian Medical Team Coordinator
- Dr. Yves Jodesty in Miami.
2. Send Monies
immediately to Haiti relief organizations
Send monies to Haitian-led
grassroots, Haitian capacity building organization who have direct access
and relationships with the most vulnerable affected by this earthquake.
There are many worthy organizations working to assist the earthquake
victims. Haitian-led relief efforts: HLLN is fleshing
out a response strategy, still in the process of trying to locate many
or our collaborators who lived in Port - au - Prince, so we don't yet
have information to give you as to some of these grassroots Haitian
organizations in Haiti that we've raised funds for and who could be
a resource to the volunteer nurses and doctors and relief workers heading
to Haiti. Our intention is to reinforce the capacity of Haitian Emergency
and First Response Services and then, in true solidarity to rebuild
a Haitians' Haiti. We shall post them up as information permits. We
recommend that those who want to help, send funds to:
- We are here -Relief Fund" to continue this work
Our other Haiti partners
in Canada, France, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Latin America, Europe and
Africa, et al have yet to put their information together. But if we
have other recommendations for where it is safe to send monies knowing
it will reach the victims and will be sensitive to Haitian human right
and dignity, this page will be updated.
3. Collect and
send medicine, water and blankets
The list for medical
and other emergency items that are needed right now are at Ezili/HLLN's
of Requested Items for the Earthquake Victims
Send medical supplies to
the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE) in New York or in
Miami. See below
for address locations.
relief: Rebuild Haiti
Support long term assistance
to raise Haiti out of containment-in-poverty, that does not militarize
rescue, recovery, relief, reconstruction. And that prioritizes the needs
of the majority of Haiti's pleople not just that of the privilege few
and that assures when another such natural disaster strikes again, there
won't be this level of damage. Rebuild Haiti's agriculture and infrastructure.
Support programs and projects for sustainable economic development in
Haiti. For HLLN's rebuilding principles and guidance on Haiti, go to:
HLLN 14-points to Return Haiti's Sovereignty and Mobilize For Conscious
Relief and Rebuilding with Human rights, Healing and Dignity
Haiti-led relief efforts
For information on Haiti-led
medical relief efforts please visit AMHE
update and AMHE.org.
Contact for the AMHE Relief Mission are Paul Nacier MD firstname.lastname@example.org
and Eric L. Jerome, MD FACP email@example.com.
If you're already in Haiti, contact either Dr. Surena of AMHE at the
General Hospital or Dr. Lassegue of AHME at 3445 0536 3654 7213.
To drop off medical
You may also drop off medical
supplies to the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad in New York
(AMHE) at: YMCA 1401 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11210. The contact person
from the YMCA is Patricia, phone # 646-258-5215.
If they need additional space the Bedford Stuyvesant YMCA will be made
available. This will allow AMHE, NY traveling to Haiti to bring supplies.
If you are outside of NY you canalso mail the supplies directly the
Haitian Red Cross in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Go to AHMENJ.org
If you are in Miami, bring
collected medicine to the Haitian-American Physician Abroad (AMHE) at
144-55 Memorial Highway, Miami Florida at memorial highway baptist church
(very close to Jackson hospital) - For more info: Dr. Francelot Moise
786 587 7646 and Dr. Florence Solage. Drop off only emergency medical
supplies and MRE's (Meals-Ready-To-Eat). No clothes, blankets, or canned
food at this location.
Fritz Pean - firstname.lastname@example.org
Magalie X - email@example.com
Jafrikayiti - firstname.lastname@example.org at Akasan.org
& Tune in to livestream/akasantv
If you're in Haiti:
of January 24, 2010 - Medical help has not reached the epicenter of
the earthquake at Kafou. They are in need of help - medical and recovery
help. Food, water, and shelter.
The same is needed for
the Southern towns of Carrefou, Leoganes, Petit Goaves, et al... Please
do not drop food and water from trucks or helicopters. Haitians aren't
animals needing feeding, but hurt, traumatized and suffering human beings.
They need help but in all that remains, they must be helped in dignity
not with guns or disdain. Thank you.
Port au Prince:
First: Medical help and reinforcement is needed at the SOPUDEP. The
Director is Réa Dol . Use our name. They are located behind the
Montana if you can get to it.
Address - SOPUDEP (Society of Providence United
for the Economic Development of Petion-Ville) School |Ave Panamericaine,
angle rue Jean Augustin et Emeric #77
Rea Dol is a long-time HLLN collaborator and may also
direct you to where other urgent need is.
Try her first. Her regular constituency and reach have the most limited
access to med help.
2nd - We are supporting the Haitian doctors
of AMHE. Dr. Surena of AMHE is at the General Hospital. Phone contact
with Dr. Surena is difficult. So contact Dr. Lassegue
of AMHE in Haiti at (011 509) 3445 0536 or at 3654 7213. He
will direct you where needs are most urgent. If not you may go to the
main hospital "Hopital Universite d'Etat" and work with the
AMHE physicians and others there. Please support the Haitian doctors
and Haiti's self-reliance, not dependency whenever possible.
Dr. Surena can be reached directly at the main hospital and will direct
any medical help group to where the needs are most urgent.
If you are already in Haiti and need more info on where else in Haiti
AMHE doctors are working or see a need for more medical help, email
Paul Nacier MD email@example.com
and Eric L. Jerome, MD FACP firstname.lastname@example.org.
3rd - The Cuban doctors at Peace Hospital
in Port au Prince also are a good source of on the ground knowledge
because they understand Kreyòl and respect Haitian culture, need
for dignity and human rights, have been helping, without any press releases,
since before the earthquake. Consider offering assistance, supplies
and whatever more help they may need. Thank you so much.
There is great, great need of help -
water, food, medical treatment, shelter - South of Port au Prince. At
the epicenter of the quake at Kafou, and its surrounding flattened neighborhoods
and then Carrefou, Leogane, Jacmel...all points South-west. Petite Goave
is shattered. If you set up shop at any of these Southern points, let
us know the contact person, so we may direct more Ezili Network help
and supplies towards supporting your med relief operations where the
need is so great.
- - We are here!
stronger than death*
14-Points for the Voiceless in Haiti: To Return Haiti's sovereignty
and Mobilize Conscious Relief, Rebuilding with Human Rights, Healing
the Truth About Haiti Forum 2010 with Ezili Dantò
updates, follow on the:
Dantò Blog, twitter.com/ezilidanto and on Facebook:
mining and oil drilling behind UN/US guns trigger the Haiti earthquake?
“My decision to destroy
the authority of the Blacks in Saint Dominque (Haiti) is not so much
based on considerations of commerce and money as on the need to block
forever the march of Blacks in the world,” Napoleon explained.
information sources spreading the truth about the Haiti struggle.
Dantò Blog |sfbayview|
*"Love is stronger and survives energy transformation."
Ezili Dantò of HLLN
true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and
drug trafficking, a book by Timothy T. Schwartz
gives Houston teacher a reprieve
She's able to stay for a year, but her case is still pending
By SUSAN CARROLL
Dec. 31, 2009, 7:18PM
Karen Warren Chronicle
Marie Baptiste said she came to the United States when she was 9 and
didn't know relatives brought her illegally.
After years of fearing she could be deported at any moment, immigration
officials have granted a Houston middle school teacher a one-year reprieve.
Marie Baptiste, 30, said she was told just before Christmas by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that she had been granted
“deferred action” for one year, meaning they will not try
and deport her during that time.
“I thank God,” said Baptiste, whose relatives brought her
to the U.S. from Haiti when she was 9 years old. “We're a little
bit less tense.”
Baptiste, now a middle school science teacher in Houston, said she didn't
realize she was in the country illegally until she was about to graduate
from high school. She went on to earn a degree from the University of
Houston and then a teaching certificate.
Baptiste met and married her husband, a Fort Bend County constable,
over a decade ago, and they started a family.
Fighting to stay
In 2000, Baptiste filed for legal status, and the application appeared
to be progressing, she said, until she arrived to an immigration court
hearing less than 10 minutes late after rushing her daughter to the
doctor that morning. In the meantime, the immigration judge had ordered
her removed in absentia.
Since then, Baptiste has been fighting to stay in the country, appealing
her removal order.
In 2006, she was picked up by immigration agents and detained for six
months.In November, ICE agents stopped Baptiste on her way to school,
but did not take her into custody after she had an anxiety attack.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who has made appeals to ICE
on Baptiste's behalf, called Baptiste's case “symbolic of the
completely broken immigration system that we have in this country.”
“She grew up in our system,” Jackson Lee said. “She
was educated in our system. She married an American citizen and her
children were born here. What greater connection can you have than family
to a country that you obviously love? She is a well-respected school
teacher with talent that we need.”
With the temporary reprieve, Baptiste said she and her husband are able
to relax a little, but are still worried about the ultimate outcome
of her case, which is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I just want to be free,” Baptiste said. “I really
want to be free.”
Community Activist Jean Montrevil Faces Deportation
by Democracy Now, Dec. 30, 2009
On Wednesday morning, Jean Montrevil was attending a regular immigration
check-in when he was detained by agents of the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Agency, or ICE. He now faces deportation to Haiti for a
twenty-year-old drug conviction, for which he has already served eleven
years in prison. He has not broken any laws since then. Montrevil is
married to an American citizen and is the father of four US citizen
children. Montrevil is a longtime community leader in New York City
and active in a number of immigrant rights groups, including Families
for Freedom, the NYC New Sanctuary Movement, and Detention Watch Network.
JUAN GONZALEZ: We end today with a story of a Haitian immigrant to this
country who could be deported this week. Jean Montrevil came to the
United States legally in 1986. He’s married to an American citizen
and is the father of four US citizen children. Montrevil is a longtime
community leader in New York City and active in a number of immigrant
rights groups, including Families for Freedom, the New York City New
Sanctuary Movement, and Detention Watch Network.
On Wednesday morning, he was attending a regular immigration check-in
when he was detained by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Agency, or ICE. He now faces deportation to Haiti for a twenty-year-old
drug conviction, for which he has already served eleven years in prison.
He has not broken any law since then.
We contacted ICE for comment, but they did not respond to our query
for the reasons for Montrevil’s detention.
AMY GOODMAN: For more on the case, we’re joined now by two guests.
Here in our New York studio, Joshua Bardavid is with us. He’s
Jean Montrevil’s attorney. And we’re joined on the phone
by Jani Montrevil, Jean Montrevil’s wife. She’s at home
with their children.
Let’s start with you. Explain his case. Why now? And what were
the charges against him years ago?
JOSHUA BARDAVID: Well, the “why now” is a question that
we haven’t been able to answer—excuse me. The charges against
him years ago were for a drug conviction that occurred when he was a
teenager, shortly after arriving in the United States. He essentially
made some bad decisions, got involved with the wrong crowd. His father
had passed away, and I guess he made a big mistake, for which he served
time in jail.
AMY GOODMAN: Eleven years.
JOSHUA BARDAVID: Eleven years in jail. As a result of that conviction,
he was placed into deportation proceedings. At the time he was placed
in deportation proceedings, he was eligible for an application. Unfortunately,
by the time his case was adjudicated, the law had changed, and he was
no longer eligible. So, while the appeals courts expressed concern that
he was prejudiced by this change in law, he was never able to actually
have his case fully adjudicated. He was ordered deported.
Unfortunately, the Haitian government would not—was not accepting
deportees at the time, and he was released and able to resume his life.
During that time, he proved himself to be an incredible member of our
community. He married a US citizen, has four US citizen children. He’s
a loving father, a loving husband. He became very involved in his church,
the Judson Memorial Church, active in numerous causes, numerous charities.
He was also regularly checking in with ICE. He didn’t try to go
into hiding. He didn’t try to do anything. He continued to make
his presence known to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And for reasons
that are unknown, they decided yesterday to detain him and apparently
intend on deporting him within the next seventy-two hours to one week.
JUAN GONZALEZ: What kind of appeals process is left to him?
JOSHUA BARDAVID: Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is
any legal appeals processes available to him. In 1996, the immigration
laws were reformed by Congress, and they cut off—
JUAN GONZALEZ: And signed by President Clinton.
JOSHUA BARDAVID: Signed by President Clinton. And the laws became extremely
harsh, and they cut off numerous appeals. And they also cut off discretion
for immigration judges to consider things like the impact on US citizen
children. Right now there’s a bill pending in Congress, the Child
Citizen Protection Act, which would, for the first time since 1996,
give immigration judges the authority to consider the impact that the
deportation would have versus the nature of the reason a person is deportable,
in this case because of the criminal offense.
AMY GOODMAN: Jani Montrevil, you’re home with the kids right now.
Your children are American citizens?
JANI MONTREVIL: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you an American citizen?
JANI MONTREVIL: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: And when did you learn that your husband would be deported?
What does this mean to you? Where is he now?
JANI MONTREVIL: I don’t know where he is. I’ve been calling
all over, and nobody has any information. So, actually, I don’t
know. He filed for a deferred action, which basically is asking—was
asking immigration to defer his deportation. They never responded. They
just detained him yesterday.
AMY GOODMAN: And what does this mean for you and your children?
JANI MONTREVIL: I’m going to be a single mother. And I was laid
off from working for the Department of Education about two years ago,
collecting unemployment. And my unemployment has two more weeks left
of payment. And it’s going to be real hard, because his income
is not going to be here anymore.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what kind of work was your husband involved in before
he was seized?
JANI MONTREVIL: We have a fifteen-passenger transportation business.
We basically transfer people back and forth to the airport, to day cares
and stuff of that nature.
AMY GOODMAN: Joshua Bardavid, what could be done at this point? Now,
if he has completely served his eleven years—and that was, what,
ten years ago?
JOSHUA BARDAVID: That was more than ten years ago, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: More than ten years ago. Is it the intervention of politicians,
of people? How does ICE respond?
JOSHUA BARDAVID: Well, ICE does have the discretion to grant what’s
called deferred action, and essentially it’s a determination that
their resources are limited and that they should not be spending their
valuable resources on deporting an individual who has proven himself
to be an important member of our community.
As Jani said, she has four children. Jean Montrevil had started a business,
was paying his taxes, contributing in numerous ways. To now remove him
from his family, to remove him from his community, has done a detriment
not only to him and to his family, but to us as a society. We have to
ask ourselves, what is better? To take a father away from his family,
when that father has proven himself to be a caring father, a caring
husband, a contributing member of our society, or to allow him to remain?
And the last hope is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will consider
this deferred action, through community pressure, through political
intervention, they will make a declaration within the next seventy-two
hours that their resources shouldn’t be spent on removing this
individual from the United States and taking him away from all of us.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Have any members of Congress or the senators here in
New York intervened? Because it’s my experience in these cases
that when a congressman or a senator gets directly involved, that there’s
a greater likelihood of ICE using discretion.
JOSHUA BARDAVID: There are members of Congress who are intervening as
we speak and doing what they can to assist. Whether that’s going
to bear fruit, we’re not sure.
AMY GOODMAN: Joshua Bardavid, I want to thank you for being with us.
And Jani Montrevil, best to you. We will continue to follow this case.
by Ezili Dantò/HLLN, December 2009. To purchase
Timothy T. Schwartz's book, go to -TRAVESTY
in Haiti : A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud,
food aid and drug trafficking.) Purchase
Timothy T. Schwartz's book TRAVESTY
“My decision to destroy the authority
of the Blacks in Saint Dominque (Haiti) is not so much based on considerations
of commerce and money as on the need to block forever the march of Blacks
in the world,” Napoleon explained.