Haiti Action Committee Statement: “We Denounce the Trump Administration’s Decision to End TPS for 59,000 Haitians”
Haiti Action Committee adds its voice to denounce the decision by the Trump Administration to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an estimated 59,000 Haitians. As we witness the implementation of a previously announced anti-immigrant agenda, we stand in solidarity with TPS and DACA recipients as well as all refugees and immigrants under attack. It is time for the passage of legislation such as HR 4253 and S 2144 or other alternative that is inclusive and beneficial for the broader immigrant community, which allows DACA and TPS recipients to stay, and gives them a path to permanent legal status.
The Immigration Act of 1990 created TPS to benefit people unable to return safely to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haiti received TPS after the earthquake of 2010. Thirteen countries had TPS status when Trump came to power. His administration ended the programs for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in April, Nicaragua and Haiti in November 2017. Decisions on Hondurans and Salvadorans will come soon. Haitian recipients of TPS have until July 22, 2019 to leave the US. Including TPS Haitians, their US-born children and spouses. Haiti could face the return of up to 200,000 people.
It is outrageous that the Trump administration has ended TPS for Haitians, given the dire country conditions that make TPS renewal such an absolute necessity. Members of Haiti Action Committee, an organization that works in solidarity with grassroots organizations, frequently visit Haiti. We are appalled at the unchanging miserable conditions – the lack of basic services including clean drinking water, sanitation, and health care. The very, very slow process of recovery from hurricanes and the earthquake has negatively impacted the health and well being of the population. The basic needs of the majority population are not being met. Returning 200,000 people to Haiti unconscionably exposes them to these conditions and will greatly exacerbate the present crisis.
Compounding the above challenges is the on-going political crisis in the country since the bloody 2004 coup d’état against the democratic government of President Aristide. Almost daily, demonstrations break out in cities and towns against the government of Jovenel Moise, increasingly seen as being totally corrupt by a large segment of the population inside Haiti and in the diaspora. Peaceful protests of the government’s abusive extortion practices of women and other small retailers, motorists and transportation workers are met with brutal repression by the police that too frequently result in death or serious injuries.
Sweatshop workers striking for higher wages, teachers owed months of unpaid salaries, students protesting the lack of educational material are similarly beaten and brutalized either in the streets or in filthy, overcrowded jails with most having no access to a judge for years. To many these increasingly frequent killings, arbitrary arrests and deadly acts by government security forces recreate/repeat the impunity that characterized the Duvalier years as shown in the following article –
Mass killing by Haitian police in Port-au-Prince: http://sfbayview.com/…/us-un-backed-haitian-police-massacr…/
The estimated 59,000 TPS recipients provide a major source of support for their families and network of relatives. The remittances keep their dependents in Haiti alive and local economies afloat. Repatriation will result in family break up and deprive former TPS recipients, now returnees, and their dependents of the means to live.
The conservative statistics below are alarming even as other reports claim higher numbers. Though hurricanes Irma and Maria did not hit Haiti directly, the heavy rains and strong winds caused great damage to houses and the local agriculture in northern Haiti. These and hurricane Matthew that struck the south in 2016 compounded the massive devastation of the earthquake from which Haiti has yet to recover. The situation in Haiti is dire according to a report by the Global Justice Clinic of NYU School of Law: http://www.ijdh.org/…/Extraordinary-Conditions_A-Statutory-…
– Hurricane Matthew displaced 180,000 people, destroyed 104,000 houses and damaged an additional 133,000, affecting the well being of more than two million people. Housing loss and damage totaled USD 856 million. The hurricane destroyed or damaged 133 hospitals, clinics, and health posts and affected 1670 schools. People have not received sufficient aid to rebuild their homes, farms and businesses. A severe hunger crisis is spreading in that area and people are migrating to Port-au-Prince to live with family in order to survive.
– Matthew killed 350,000 farm animals
– 200,000 people live in Canaan, a makeshift settlement created after the earthquake, without drinking water or sanitation
– 30,000 new cholera cases were projected to develop in 2017. Cholera has killed 10,000 people and sickened 815,000 [some reports conclude almost 15,000 dead.]
– 60% of the population live under $2 a day; 1 in 4 lives on less than $1 a day. Haiti is the most food insecure nation in the western hemisphere according to the Global Hunger Index
– 22% Haitians face food insecurity; 50% Haitians are undernourished
– Haiti imports more than half its food, including 80% of its rice, and prices keep rising
The income from TPS recipients and other Haitian immigrants plays a vital role in Haiti’s recovery by providing economic support for friends and relatives back home. The resources they send regularly are reliable, received directly and are put to good use by community residents striving to rebuild their lives. Similar situations exist for other countries that are also striving to recover from wars, natural and human-made disasters, and who do not have the capacity to repatriate tens of thousands of people. We call for the passage of inclusive legislation that benefits the broader immigrant community, which allows DACA and TPS recipients to stay, and gives them a path to permanent residency and citizenship.
HAITI EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
c/o EAST BAY SANCTUARY COVENANT, 2362 BANCROFT WAY, BERKELEY CA 94704
EBSC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, tax ID# 94-3249753
Since its inception in March 2004, following the brutal coup d’etat against the
democratically-elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haiti Emergency Relief
Fund (HERF) has given concrete aid to Haiti’s democratic movement. HERF supports
grassroots organizations on the ground in Haiti including emergency disaster relief,
women’s agricultural cooperatives, schools for the most impoverished Haitian children,
mobile health clinics, the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA) and more.
Donations go directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti. HERF pays no wages and takes
no cut – volunteers do all the work, and all the money HERF collects goes directly to those
who need it, starting with women – the primary caregivers in every community. Help
support HERF’s important work, which is a lifeline especially for the most impoverished
Haitians in order to support the long-run development of human rights, sustainable
agriculture and economic justice in Haiti.
Popular organizations in Haiti are hard at work trying to ensure that families and
communities can survive and rebuild. Though hurricanes Irma and Maria did not hit Haiti directly in September 2017, the heavy rains and strong winds caused great damage to houses and the local agriculture in northern Haiti. Communities are struggling to rebuild from Hurricane Matthew that devastated cities and villages in the south in October 2016. More than 2 million people were affected; the widespread destruction of crops and livestock reversed the gains in food production made by women’s agricultural cooperatives and other local farmers. The massive flooding from this year’s hurricane season and recent torrential rains has caused a deadly spike in water-borne diseases, particularly cholera (brought to Haiti by UN troops), severely taxing the much limited resources of already overburdened communities.
We urge all friends of Haiti donate as much as they can to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Your donations will go directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti that are at risk in their work for democracy, human rights, social and economic justice. They save lives by helping people on the ground access education, health care, clean water, food and shelter, and reconstructing their lives.
Here are just a few examples of what your generous contributions have supported:
* The Aristide Foundation For Democracy has organized mobile health clinics for un-derserved communities.
* Women’s Agricultural Cooperatives – Production of locally grown food crops.
* Radio Timoun, based within the Aristide Foundation, and other local independent
radio stations that have received support from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, have
provided consistent and needed information on various topics including education and
* HERF-supported schools and women’s organizations in the Port-au-Prince area
provide education for disadvantaged children and support women’s organizing.
This is but a short list of the work that you are supporting. In essence, you are
supporting the work of the democratic movement in Haiti, which is determined to aid Haitians assisting Haitians in the spirit of solidarity and dignity. We are responding to their call and their lead.
Please donate on line at: www.haitiemergencyrelief.org
Or Send Checks To:
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
c/o East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California 94704
All donations are tax-deductible. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant is a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organization, tax ID# 94-3249753 Tel: +510-595-4650
We Thank You!
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund Board of Directors: Walter Riley, Maureen Duignan, O.S.F.,
Pierre Labossiere, Marilyn Langlois, Robert Roth
Haiti Action Committee Denounces the Attempted Assassination of Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide Photo courtesy of HaitiInfoProj
See also: Video footage of Aristide supporters just prior to assassination attempt. Video courtesy of Wendy Joseph Lerisse
Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case. While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.
In the wake of the electoral coup which installed Jovenal Moise, a right-wing protege of former president Michel Martelly, as Haiti’s new president, there has been a marked increase in repression directed against grassroots activists.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti. It harkens back to the days of the Duvalier dictatorships. Human rights activists and all supporters of democracy in Haiti need to condemn this attempted assassination and demand that those who committed this act be brought to justice.
Former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide greets thousands of supporters in Port-au-Prince 3-20-17 Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Also watch Kevin Pina’s latest documentary “Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits”: http://bit.ly/eWFDLd
Few Haitians, scholars and historians have had the opportunity to hear and study the full speech of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on September 27, 1991. The speech was mired in controversy after Raymond Joseph, current Haitian ambassador to Washington D.C. but then Publisher of the right-wing newspaper Haiti Observateur, released a slanted translation. The translation was circulated by Ellen Cosgrove, the political officer of the U.S. Embassy in 1991, to the international press as proof that Aristide supported “pe lebrun” or necklacing with burning tires doused with gasoline. Other translators and scholars have criticized Joseph and the U.S. for that slant countering that Aristide’s reference to “tool” and “smell” were colorful Kreyol metaphors describing Haiti’s constitution. They say this only becomes clear when heard in the context of the entire speech.
The political context of the speech is equally important as it follows an attempt by the Duavlierists and Roger Lafontant to overthrow Aristide’s government in a coup only three months earlier. Aristide was caught between plots by Duvalierists aligned with Haiti’s wealthy elite and the violent reaction and impulses of the Haitian masses to decades of brutal repression known as dechoukaj.
The military coup that overthrew Aristide began on September 29, 1991, two days after he delivered this speech. The Joseph translation of the speech was handed out by Ellen Cosgrove to the press on October 7, 1991 during a visit by the Organization of American States (OAS) to Haiti.
This speech would be referred to many times, including in the present context, to justify keeping Aristide out of politics and the violent repression of Haiti’s poor masses represented by the Lavalas movement.
Kevin Pina and the Haiti Information Project (HIP) now offer for history the complete unedited speech in Kreyol as it was videotaped that day in Sept. 1991.