Sunday, 14 May 2017

55,000 Haitians may face deportation if TPS is not extended by Trump

Haitians celebrating the Compa Festival in Miami, Florida.

While the focus on immigration policy revolves around Trump's do whatever it takes concerning illegal immigration, some immigrants in the country legally will soon be facing their own prospects of deportation. Around 55,000 Haitians some with American born children might be facing deportation if the Temporary Protection Status for Haitians is not extending for the upcoming year by the Trump White House. The WH has been contemplating it for a while. Haitians along with Salvadarenos, Nicaraguans, Liberians, Guineans, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalians and Sudanese are granted Temporary Protection Status. TPS as its colloquially known is a special and rare designation (it's not a right and can bee difficult to obtain) given to immigrants who are unable to return to their home countries safely for a variety of reason i.e. conflict, permanent environmental destruction, forcible displacement, persecution, stateless, trapped in limbo or instability. Haitians were originally granted TPS following the 2010 Haitian Earthquake that nearly obliterated the Haitian capital Port au Prince. As for the survivors and recovery some 7 years later, many ordinary Haitians are still displaced from and outside of Port au Prince and other neighbouring towns. Many are still living in IDP and displacement camps. The UN MINUSTAH forces are still in the country. Most Haitians regard the remaining UN troops as an occupation force.

Little Haiti and its famed Caribbean Market, Miami, FL.

The 55,000 Haitians are scattered across the United States but the home base for most of the Haitian Disapora in the United States is Florida (specifically South Florida) which is home to a large Caribbean and Latin American community in general. Miami is well known for both regional cultures dominating the city scape and local society. South Florida is seen as part of the Caribbean and Miami is often referred to as the unofficial "Capital of Latin America." Both Haitian Americans and Haitian immigrants have long standing businesses, news and radio stations, schools, newspapers, community centres and familial connections. Famously, Miami particularly Little Haiti (which is not that far from Little Havana) and New York are the decades old home for Haitians and Haitian Americans. Little Haiti residents and wider Haitian and Caribbean immigrants are justifiably nervous about the TPS extension. Some 500 Disney World workers are also part of the TPS extension limbo.

Homeland Security's "Hunt" for illegal Haitian immigrants after 6 year hiatus

Last year, former President Obama called an end to the Wet Foot Dry Foot policy which allowed thousands of Cubans to enter the U.S. illegally via balsas (rafts) since the start of the Cuban Revolution in 1959-2017. Most of the illegal Cubans have been given a fast pass to residency and eventual citizenship. Meanwhile, Salvadorenos, Haitians and even other Carribeans i.e. Jamaicans or Dominicans entering the U.S. illegally are berated or immediately deported to their countries without any human rights organizations able to plead their cases. Allowing illegal Cubans a chance to stay in the U.S. was more about punishing the Castro Brothers' government by protecting hundreds of thousands Cuban exiles from the Anti-Castro, anti-communist, anti-revolution, pro-U.S., pro-multinational corporations, pro-business, Democracy or bust camp. It had nothing to do with the U.S. government being altruistic. Exception to the pro-Cuban exile policy was the Elian Gonzales ordeal. The infamous Wet Foot Dry Foot policy reeked of racism and double standards towards Haiti and Cuba who are also neighbours. Illegal Haitian immigrants were notoriously turned away once reaching Florida via boats despite the U.S. overthrowing the popular and democratically elected Haitian government of Jean Astride in 1991 via Haitian Military and 2004 respectively.

Former President Bill Clinton standing with Jean Betrand Astride in the 1990s.

Intervening for our sake not yours U.S. "intervention" in Haiti

Prior Astride, the U.S. had supported Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, the notorious dictators and the hated Haitian army's paramitary unit Tonton Macoutes (the Bogeyman aka lit: Uncle Gunnysack) throughout the 1950s-1980s in Haiti. Also remember, the United States was one of the imperial countries in the Caribbean and refused to recognized Haitian independence in 1804. The U.S. Army invaded and occupied Haiti in 1915-1934 only thirty after militarily occupying the Philippines and Cuba following the U.S.-Spanish War in 1898. The Occupation in Haiti occurred at the end of World War I which really wasn't as global as it is portrayed in history books. Also it is unusual that the American occupation continued throughout the Great Depression considering that the U.S. itself was economically broke, faced high unemployment, ordinary Americans experienced internal displacement across the country and financial markets were still struggling.  60 years later, U.S. military would again drop into Haiti under the Operation Upholding Democracy to overthrow the popular Jean Astride, the liberation theology priest turned politician. Astride had barely begun his administration when he was forcibly placed on a plane and sent into exile. Hardly democratic or abiding by the wishes of ordinary Haitians. Haiti is just the latest in a long list of Caribbean countries the United States has intervened in. Sometimes the U.S. intervened in other countries for no reason other than to flex the military muscles remember Panama and Grenada. Neither countries have ever attacked the U.S. Their only sin was to elect two governments that stood up to the U.S., sought to operate their local economies under alternatives to capitalism and criticized U.S. foreign policy's heavy handedness in use of military power to terrorize other nations and enforcing democracy at the expense of ordinary people. It shouldn't be surprising than that Haitians are suspicious of help from the United States and other Western countries. That the Haitians no longer have respect for the United Nations nor the meaningful intentions of their neighbours.

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