Immigration is a major issue among Haitian. It is estimated that over 4 million Haitians are currently living outside of Haiti
New Bahamas enforcement policy illegal, immoral, said Fred Smith, (GBHRA)
The Perry Christie Bahamian government's new immigration policy is a barely concealed form of ethnic cleansing according to the Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association (GBHRA). It consists of a non-discriminatory process, in which immigration authorities conduct dragnets in the middle of the night in communities, in which large populations of Haitian descendents live. No effort is made to separate the innocent from the guilty until later, a blatant violation of human rights. GBHRA President Fred Smith charged the cattle-herding policy ". . . is unconstitutional . . . (and) they are breeding 'Haitian hatred', racism, and discrimination."
Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell dodged responsibility for his ministry's hand in the mass round-ups. Politics should play no part in this, nor should any polarization between the government and civil rights organizations exist, he added. The bottom line, he stressed, is the new immigration policy must be enforced to protect the borders.
Human Rights Abuses Unnecessary to Enforce Immigration Law in the Bahamas
The Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association (GBHRA) has called the government of The Bahamas (GOB) new immigration policy illegal and immoral, formulated ". . . to strike fear into the Haitian-Bahamian population." Immigration officials are going into neighborhoods in the middle of the night where large communities of Haitians live, and indiscriminately hauling them off to detention centers. Only after they have been detained do officials check to see if immigrants are illegal or not. According to GBHRA President Fred Smith such treatment is a blatant transgression of a basic tenet of law: people are innocent until proven guilty.
The Black Immigration Network (BIN) is fighting the Obama administration (OA) on its immigration policies. In 2010 a cataclysmic earthquake took 250,000 Haitian lives and caused displacement of many more millions from their homes. Families have been torn asunder, yet to be reunified. BIN has written Obama, pressing for the Department of Homeland Security (DOHS) to create and put into action a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. "The time to . . . reunite Haitian-Americans with . . . family members is now," the letter said in part.
A secondary issue is deportation of immigrants--387,000 of them--in the last five years. Just weeks after the quake, the OA deported 250-plus immigrants, some of whom were deathly ill. The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting discovered OA went against its policy of finding other ways to avoid deportation under life-threatening and humanitarian emergencies. DOHS has issued 110,000 visas for reunification of families, but people are on a waitlist, extending at least 12 years.
On the night of July 6th, Carnival Freedom rescued a sinking raft off the coast of Florida. The raft had 29 refugees from Haiti. The Carnival Freedom cruise was en route back to the home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They were alerted by United States Coast Guard that there was a vessel sinking and there are 29 people on board. The Carnival Freedom has always assisted mariners, and they turned towards the sinking vessel. The United States Coast cutter arrived on the scene and released the Carnival Freedom so that they could proceed to Fort Lauderdale.
Major policy shift announced by the Obama Administration toward Haitian Immigration in the US. On October 17, 2014, which is the day Haiti founding father Jean-Jacques Dessalines was assassinated in Pont Rouge, the Obama administration issued an executive Order approving the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program.
Beginning January 2015, U.S. Department of Homeland Security will implement a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program to expedite family reunification for eligible Haitian family members. It is expected to cover over 5,000 Haitians currently living in Haiti.
Under this new Haitian Family Reunification Parole program, some people who have been waiting for years in Haiti will be allowed to travel and wait in the US instead for their legal status to be adjusted. While in the US, these people will be allowed to function and work legally.
On July 2nd, Governor Peter Beckingham left for the Bahamas to talk about the illegal migration of Haitians. The governor briefed the media that he was going to meet with the Bahamian Governor General, including other persons, to continue with the talks. These talks, according to the Governor, were initiated by Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie while in TCI in April 2014. The talks were to pressure Haitian government to address issue of illegal migration.
The Haitians were trying to escape their country, therefore, the Governor, together with other persons, decided to put more pressure to stop people from migrating to the Turks and Caicos Islands. According to his statement, there are people from Haiti who have embarked on journeys going to these Islands. He said they have noticed for the last four days people from Haiti entering their waters.
Caribbean Heads of Government from several CARICOM nations gathered for the 35th edition of a four-day meeting in Antigua to address several issues affecting the regional body, established in 1974. Topics to be covered included the future of CARICOM as a sustainable geopolitical body; effects of the economic malaise; and a decision by the Dominican Republic (DR) to strip illegal aliens' off-spring of their citizenship rights.
Interim CARICOM Chairman, Ralph Gonsalves, was vociferous in his defense of approximately 500,000 Haitian descendents, who risk deportation due to being deprived of their identity documents by the DR. He said, ". . . people of Haitian descent . . . look to us (CARICOM) to give voice to . . . denial of their human rights. Don't think . . . they look simply to Haiti." Gonsalves persuaded CARICOM last year to not engage with the DR once its Constitutional Court ruled to terminate Dominican citizenship for any person that had parents, who illegally entered the DR. The Court made the ruling retroactive to 1929.
Because Haiti suffers the reputation of being the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, it has spurred hundreds of thousands of Haitian migrants to cross over the border into the Dominican Republic (DR) seeking jobs. The DR, seeking to implement immigration control, has started a program to give resident status to Haitian migratory workers, who have been in the country prior to October 2011. The DR is asking for a Haitian identity card, passport, or birth certificate. The problem is the Haitian government's inertia in processing requests for the identity documents.
Haitians have not had an easy go of it in the Dominican Republic, but they direct their ire at Haiti's bungling bureaucracy. The immigration authorities are imposing a fee of $60 for a new birth certificate, voter ID, and passport. The fee is well beyond the means of migrant workers whose take-home pay amounts to only five dollars per day.
Haitian Officials Urged to Document their Nationals for Dominican Republic Regularization Program. The Dominican Republic (DR) High Court issued a ruling last September 2013 that strips Haitian immigrants of citizenship, making them stateless. The international community has denounced the discriminatory action. Bowing to pressure from foreign governments, the DR said it would put into effect a National Plan of Regularization of Foreigners (PNRF), illegally residing in the DR.
One document Haitian immigrants need to register for the PNRF is a Haitian passport. But they are hard to obtain because the government of Haiti has relinquished the issuance of them to the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C. The time required to receive a passport from Washington can be up to three months.
Sometime, it is a good thing to listen to the opposing view. We might learn something, even from someone like Rush Limbaugh, a radio host in the United States who is well known for his conservative views.
Someone from Miami recently called his show to ask him a question about the double standard that exists in the American immigration law when it comes to Haitian immigrants.
CALLER: I'd like to know why Mr. Obama is granting amnesty to all the immigrants that came over here illegally. When the Cubans come here, if they make it to land, they get to stay. However, for the Haitians, whether or not they make it to land, they get sent back.
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