Our VoiceImmigration

US Deporting 30,000 to Storm Ravaged Haiti

Jill Garvey • Mar 16, 2009

Haiti is in deep trouble and US immigration policies are only compounding the problem. The multiple hurricanes that hit the island last year are comparable to the effect of 8-10 hurricane Katrinas hitting the United States. 15% of the economy was destroyed. Couple environmental destruction with being on the losing side of trade deals, ruthless dictators, and invasions by wealthy nations and you have a country in full-on collapse. With food prices increasing over 100% Haitians have turned to eating clay in order to stave off starvation. If finding enough to eat wasn’t hard enough, try giving birth in Haiti - mother mortality there is the highest in the Western hemisphere. According to UNICEF, 670 women die in childbirth for every 100,000 births. That number is 11 in the United States.

Haitian immigrants to the US work tirelessly to provide for themselves and their families in Haiti who have nothing to fall back on. Deporting them back to Haiti is a death sentence for them and those they support.

The White House can do something concrete to help. The Administration can provide Temporary Protected Status to Haitians facing deportation. It’s a matter of life and death for most, and has long-term benefits for Haitians and Americans. Haitians need to rebuild, and they need the remittances from their fellow Haitians working in the US. Anti-immigrant groups and Department of Homeland Security officials would like us to believe that this is bad for America, but money will be sent to Haiti one way or another. It can be earned lawfully by immigrants and passed onto their families or it can come from the pockets of taxpayers in the form of relief aid after they incur the heavy cost of deporting 30,000. Haitian immigrants lose, American tax-payers lose.

The truth? We’ve been screwing over Haiti for, well, forever really. The US and several other wealthy nations have played a huge part in repeatedly destabilizing the nation and now they are starving and dying. Providing protective status is the very least we can do. I can’t even call it generous, it merely amounts to not kicking them while their down. Temporary Protected Status won’t fix Haiti, but it is absolutely outrageous to deny it.

Please call the White House at 202-456-1414.
Tell President Obama to grant TPS for Haitian immigrant families now. Haiti has suffered one disaster after another, and we should not be deporting Haitians when their lives might be endangered.

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