Rachel Bongiorno goes to New Jersey to find out more about the Voudou religion.
Immigrants talk about how they remain connected to their home culture through food.
The first in a series of articles exploring how New York City newspapers that serve immigrant readers are coping with the weak economy and changes in the way news is gathered and distributed.
Almost a quarter century after he was overthrown in a popular uprising, former Haitian president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier resurfaced in his earthquake devastated country on January 16. Haitians in the U.S. are trying to make sense of what his arrival means in a time of political uncertainty.
By Macollvie Jean-François
MIAMI — Tomorrow, South Florida activists expect 2,000 to 4,000 supporters to attend a rally seeking Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and to urge lawmakers to put a stop to deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants. The rally is scheduled to take place in front of the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, a few miles north of Fort Lauderdale.[UPDATE: After the rally, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported: “Rapper Wyclef Jean made a surprise appearance at a rally in Pompano Beach on Saturday, where about 250 people called for the U.S. government to stop deportations to Haiti.” See more here.]
The rally comes after news last week that 30,000 Haitians have been ordered to leave the U.S. after a short-lived halt in deportations had made many hopeful they would be granted temporary stays. The suspension of deportations followed a series of brutal storms that lashed Haiti last year. Now Haiti is blocking the deportations by not issuing travel documents to its citizens, saying the country just cannot take in more people at this time.
TPS for Haitians was expected to be a hot-button issue for the Obama Administration, and pro-immigrant advocates in the community said throughout the presidential campaign it would be their goal to make it a reality under the new administration.
Now, a little more than a month into Barack Obama’s presidency, the issue has become a litmus test of his loyalty to a group of immigrant voters who campaigned heavily for him.
“I was expecting right after Obama took office that he would do something,” said Bob Louis Jeune, head of the Haitian Citizens United Taskforce in West Palm Beach, and an organizer of Saturday’s rally. “But he never said anything. We get tired of sending letters and emails, and nobody said anything.”
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
In one of our end-of-the-year pieces last December, Haitian-American journalist Macollvie Jean-François summed up the hopes of Haitians in the U.S. after many of them helped elect Barack Obama to the presidency: “People here hope for a policy toward Haiti that is comprehensive, streamlined, smart and empathetic.”
It seems those hopes are not being realized despite the change at the White House. Monday, an article in the South Florida-Sun Sentinel revealed that 30,000 Haitians have been ordered to leave the U.S., after a temporary halt in deportations had made many hopeful they would be granted temporary stays.
Haiti has reacted by blocking the deportations through a simple measure: it is not processing travel documents for its citizens, leaving some 600 of them in immigration detention centers in the U.S.