On New Year’s Day, Jean Montrevil was detained in an immigration lockup. Less than a month later, after being freed following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, he will stand outside another jail where immigrants are held to protest the laws that placed him a breath away from deportation.
Tag: Haitian deportations
Ethnic media outlets are providing a vital link to news and information about the situation in Haiti as Haitians in the U.S. scramble to learn the fate of friends and family members following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake and relief efforts are organized in communities across the U.S.
Can people change? This question is at the heart of the fight between Homeland Security and detained immigration activist Jean Montrevil. The answer has major implications for the reforms that lawmakers propose when they take up immigration reform after health care.
New York police on Tuesday arrested eight clergy members and two community activists who were demonstrating outside a Lower Manhattan immigration detention center against the likely deportation of civic activist Jean Montrevil.
Jean Montrevil, a founder of the local branch of the New Sanctuary Coalition and a legal U.S. resident born in Haiti, was detained by immigration authorities on Dec. 30 during one of his monthly check-ins and is now awaiting deportation at a York, Pa., jail.
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.
By Macollvie Jean-François
In the aftermath of the devastation four major storms wrought on Haiti’s already fragile ecosystem and precarious daily life a few months ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it would stop deporting Haitians, temporarily. The news brought on such euphoria among some, it was as though the U.S. government had finally granted Haitians the long-sought, ever-elusive Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and at-long-last tangibly recognized Haiti’s volatility. When ICE revoked that measure 10 weeks later (see a Sun-Sentinel story reposted here), it was like throwing a bucket of water on advocates and families impacted.
But the hope — a popular word these days — is that an Obama Administration may be more receptive to granting Haitians TPS. It’s one example of aspirations many Haitian-Americans hope will fare better than they did under George Bush.
No one expects substantial change in Haiti or Haitian enclaves overnight, though many experienced an immediate boost in pride at the President-elect’s achievements. People understand that the recession, the wars, health care, education and energy take precedence over immigration-related issues.
Haitian-Americans and friends of Haiti are quick to throw out these maxims in conversation about U.S.-Haiti relations: “When it rains in the U.S., it pours in Haiti”; “If the U.S. sneezes, Haiti catches a cold.” The sayings speak to the connection between the two countries – a mere 2-hour flight from each other — and how heavily Haiti relies on the U.S. for aid, whether from the U.S. government or remittances sent home by Haitian -Americans. It’s the reason thousands of naturalized U.S. citizens stood on those snaking lines across South Florida to vote early, some standing for several hours. Their ballots, firmly cast, helped deliver Florida to Obama, early and decisively. (more…)