Our VoiceImmigration

Obama Sends Mixed Messages to Haitians


Jessica Acee • Jan 20, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced plans to relocate hundreds of detainees from the Krome detention center in Miami to make room for Haitian migrants they fear will swarm America ports.

This is in addition to the other drastic measures, like broadcasting messages from US cargo planes flying over Haiti, that DHS has taken to make sure no Haitians try to migrate here.

This stands in stark contrast to Obama’s message of support for the Haitian people. “You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten,” he said last week, and stopped to compose himself. “In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you.”

Maybe he meant to say, “We stand with you as long as you stay put and do as we say.”

Though Obama has yet to tackle immigration reform, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS, has made her position clear as she continues to support raids, deportations, and the mess that is Maricopa County, AZ.

Obama has had a full year of missed opportunities to put an end to DHS’s draconian immigration tactics and implement a humane system to manage immigration in America.

While Obama did grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians living in the United States in the wake of the earthquake, he has ignored the calls for TPS for victims in Haiti who’ve lost everything. The President is willing to talk about the Haitian’s tragic history but is not willing to help them write a new future. It’s an irony not lost that he dare deny Haitian people the hope that comes with change.

It’s been one week since natural disaster struck Haiti and one year since Obama took office. Haiti will not mark Obama’s presidency like Katrina did for his predecessor, but a lack of response to immigrants from Haiti and elsewhere in the world will be remembered for generations to come.

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