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This week Haiti experienced an earthquake of catastrophic proportions, which has left hundreds of thousands of lives in peril. While we know that it was a magnitude 7.0 quake, we do not yet know the magnitude of lives lost or damage done.

Still, as we look for ways to provide assistance to survivors in Haiti, we must also figure out what to do about our immigration policy regarding Haitian immigrants here at home.

The debate has been raging for some time now about whether to extend "Temporary Protected Status," or TPS, to unauthorized Haitian immigrants facing severe circumstances back home (even before the latest natural disaster). Ginger Thompson, who has been covering the debate for the New York Times, wrote back in February:

After an estimated 1,000 people were killed in mudslides in Haiti last year, the government asked the United States to grant temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants — relief that was extended when Honduras and El Salvador were hit by similar disasters. The designation is intended for countries in such dire trouble that receiving deportees would undermine their stability.

Deportations of Haitians were temporarily suspended last September, while the Bush administration considered the request. In December, the request was denied and the deportations resumed.

Lawyers say hundreds of people were detained, pushing detention centers across Florida beyond capacity. Hundreds of other immigrants were forced to wear electronic monitoring devices.

Andrea Nill writes, at the Wonk Room:

Haitian immigrants in the U.S. probably should’ve been granted TPS long before yesterday’s earthquake. Yet now, as Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) points out, it would be "not only immoral, but irresponsible" not to.

Haiti’s recent woes come after enduring four consecutive tropical cyclones in 2008 that left 800 people dead and from which the country has yet to recover. The Miami Herald has reported that the Haitian city of Gonaives, is still "uninhabitable." That same year, Port-Au-Prince was "shattered" as even 9,000 United Nation peacekeepers were unable to halt the looting and violence that ravaged Haiti’s capital. In March, USAID estimated that 2.3 million Haitians were facing "food insecurity" as a result of high food prices. Political instability continues to devastate the country. hosts an "Open Letter to President Obama" on the issue, which concludes:

I urge you to revisit the requests for TPS for Haitians from:

Organizations such as the NAACP and US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Newspapers including The New York Times and the Washington Post
Your good friend Senator Ted Kennedy and others

The National Immigration Forum has this to say:

We find some consolation that the Administration is acting quickly to mobilize relief efforts to Haiti. We support the latest Immigration and Customs Enforcement announcement that it is halting all deportations of Haitian immigrants for the time being, in light of the devastation caused by yesterday’s earthquake.

These are the right immediate initial responses. But as part of its long term relief effort, the Administration must grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants who are now in the U.S. TPS is meant to protect nationals of a country that has experienced political turmoil or a natural disaster.  There is no question that the chaos the country is experiencing in the wake of the earthquake qualifies as a reason to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians  in the U.S.

While most everyone agrees that the crisis in Haiti is severe enough to warrant granting TPS to Haitian immigrants, the leading lights over at the John Tanton-linked Center for Immigration Studies are already complaining over at the National Review Online about how those darned immigrants may not get deported, once protected.

Mark (Sotomayor-should-change-her-name-to-sound-more-"Anglo") Krikorian has this to say of TPS:

It's a necessary tool, but as currently structured it functions as a permanent amnesty for anyone "lucky" enough to come from a country that suffers a natural (or even man-made) disaster. As far as I've been able to determine, not a single person who has ever been granted this "temporary" status has later been deported.

It's hard to know where to begin with this one. At least it shows consistency-- would hate to think Mark Krikorian wasted an opportunity to rail against immigrants "lucky" enough to have their homeland ripped apart by a 7.0 earthquake. In all fairness, thought,  Krikorian does begin his post by conceding that now would probably be a good time for the Obama administration to grant Haitians TPS.

Ya think?

Cross-Posted at America's Voice.

Originally posted to Adam Luna on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:44 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That sound you just heard (13+ / 0-)

    was Lou Dobbs' head exploding.

    "I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see, I never studied law." -Bugs Bunny

    by KroneckerD on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:48:59 AM PST

  •  Let's try a novel, beyond-the-box concept here: (0+ / 0-)

    1.)  Grant TPS.

    2.)  Provide Haitian refugees with the training to coordinate/participate in the complete ground-up reconstruction of Haiti---infrastructure, agriculture and refoliation, social services---the whole big sordid ball of wax.  This is going to be a "total" nation-building construct, given that about half the counrty's population live in the PaP area, and reports coming out seem to have one thing in common:  PaP destruction seems to be about 80% total, and most of what's left might have to be demolished.

    3.)  Provide the proper (re: non-Bushylvanian) procedures for repatriation.

    A wildcat strike against a recalcitrant, apologetic Party is the order of the day. Every day.

    by Liberal Panzer on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:03:05 AM PST

    •  I'm thinking the world should (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      agree to write off rebuilding Haiti and allow it's citizens to be absorbed into other nations. Haiti is a total disaster and with climate change it is only going to get worse. Plus the UN will need to learn how to absorb environmental refugees at some point anyway. Might as well start that process after Haiti becomes more stable, but lets face it hurricane season starts in a few months and the disasters begin anew.

      "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

      by Pakalolo on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:08:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  South Florida, NY (0+ / 0-)

          the Bahamas and many nations could absorb refugees. Honestly, do you think for a moment the Haitians rebuilding their country is going to happen? Even in the best of times they have no choice but to eat dirt. Sorry it is time the suffering stops. Let them leave that hell.

          I hope I answered you What????

          "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

          by Pakalolo on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:16:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think (0+ / 0-)

            you should go do some research and learn a little about Haiti, its history, its culture, and its people. This is one of the most ignorant things I've heard. This is my native land and I am one of those who are anxious and frustrated, not having been able to make contact with relatives and friends there. I have browsed through a few diaries today, but I am taking the time to reply to you.

            I've been surprised by some of the things being said including by Chris Mathews tonight. I do thank everyone who has shown supports and concerns. I also encourage some of you to learn a little bit more about Haiti, the inside and outside influences that affects it. Really if you knew anything about Haiti and Haitians, you wouldn't make such a comment.

            "En me renversant, on n'a abattu a Saint-Domingue que le tronc de l'abre de la Liberte des noirs, il repoussera par les racines parce qu'elles sont profondes et nombreuses." Toussaint Louverture

      •  Has it crossed your mind that many of the people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, NY brit expat

        there may want to stay and rebuild?

        "I know this defies the law of gravity, but you see, I never studied law." -Bugs Bunny

        by KroneckerD on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:16:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I thought of that last night. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NuttyProf, Pakalolo

        It's only 9,000,000 people.  They all wouldn't go to the same place.  The ones that wanted to stay could and eventually the D.R. would take over the whole island and most likely leave some of the areas more suseptable to earthquakes uninhabited.  

        It's not a bad idea, not the easiest or the most appealing, but it ain't bad.

      •  Clarification, please (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nightprowlkitty, KroneckerD

        Are you advocating using Haitians as U.N. guinea pigs or "practice subjects"?

        •  I'm advocating (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          having some human decency and mercy and instead of lying to the Haitian people that everything will be ok actually do something to make sure the suffering stops. Now you tell me, are you advocating that the UN experiment with the Haitian people in the bizzare notion that this country can be rebuilt? Really?

          "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

          by Pakalolo on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:31:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  As calous as this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        sounds unfortunately there may be some reality to this thought. My understanding of Haiti is that they have no infrastructure which to rebuild with. That country is reduced to rubble, and there is no heavy lifting machinery, how are they supposed to rebuild? There's not even enough food or resources that they need in order to undertake such a process. It's really unbelievable.

        "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

        by dotdot on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:35:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pat Robertson (0+ / 0-)

    Say  Haitian are curse ,  they made a pact with the devil 200 years ago,this man  is areal piece of work, this effort will take more than prayers ,it will take the whole world cooperation to stop this untold suffering ,Obama should  dispatch the USS Mercy ,it has 2000 hospital bed or even charter cruise ship and turn them into floating hospital  

  •  I keep wondering, where will all these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    dispossessed, ruined people go?  What is the situation like with regard to emigration to the neighboring Dominican Republic?  Are people trying to cross the border in greater numbers to find possibilities?  I haven't seen any news about this.

    •  they rebuild (0+ / 0-)

      they rebuild their own nation.  Of course if we didnt have totally corrput world banks and tarde orgs they could do this,  they'll likely end up being screwed yet again.

      They cant come here? theres nothing for them.  Did you sees todays economics stories,  double dip here we come.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:09:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make it sound (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as if it is about as complicated as going to the local store for a bag of sugar.

        I wish more American's had traveled and even worked in developing nations.

        •  developing nations (0+ / 0-)

          are third world thanks mostly to imperialist powers screwing them.  Stealing resurces and funds for centuries.  France screwed this poor country for 150 years, then we stepped in and screwed then for the last 100.

          I dont need to travel to Detroit to know and understand why its in the shape it is.  Same for third world.  

          (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

          by dark daze on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:31:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So then if (0+ / 0-)

            they have no resources, no supplies, no food, no money, no equipment, how are they supposed to rebuild?

            "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

            by dotdot on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:37:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  by allowing (0+ / 0-)

              by allowing the honest banks to come in and lend. To allow an honest government to operate.

              Cut the puppet strings and treat them as we should. not as we can.

              (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

              by dark daze on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:39:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You make this sound all to easy (0+ / 0-)

                Do you really believe banks are going to come in and lend to destitute Haitians with no jobs, no collateral, and no means to support themselves?

                "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

                by dotdot on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:41:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  never said it was easy (0+ / 0-)

                  but the first step is to get out from the grips f the predator vile banks and lenders which have screwed this country for millenia.

                  Sadly, some of this was just about to happen as a billion in debt was about to be forgiven.

                  As for Haitians, all they need is a far shot and chance, they havent had that in 200+ years.

                  (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

                  by dark daze on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:59:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Haitians are already here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They should be allowed to live without fear of deportation, at least while the country is rebuilt.

      •  There's nothing here? (0+ / 0-)

        Of course there is.

        Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

        by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:03:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  historic tensions between Haiti and the DR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In 1937 the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered a massacre of immigrant Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic. An estimated 30,000 Haitians were killed.

      The Trujillo dictatorship manipulated cross-border tensions with Haiti for decades.  

      •  How about right now in response to the earthquake (0+ / 0-)

        -- are there tensions around this?  Thanks for any information you might give.

        •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

          I imagine there is a lot of humanitarian concern and outpouring in the DR. The DR is not as poor as Haiti, although it is not a wealthy country. But in the medium term, I would anticipate tensions. Dominican-Haitian immigration and border issues have been fraught with these tensions. For decades, Dominican identity has been constructed around "not being Haitian."

          But I'm sure this is an oversimplification. One of the things about large-scale disasters is that they tend to upend previous political paradigms.  

  •  Please don't do that. (0+ / 0-)

    I want to help people too but allowing a bunch of people to come here on an emergency basis when we have no jobs already just doesn't seem like a good idea.  

    It would be better for people that want to help if they were to go from America to Haiti and do work there.  

    If the idea is to help Haiti and allow them to help themselves when there is another emergency then I think that going there would be the best way.  

    •  That would be a good (0+ / 0-)

      strategy if there were something to work with. I honestly don't know the answer but just saying go there  looks a lot like punting the problem driven more by keep it out of my back yard than a genuine desire for the best outcome.

    •  just the opposite (0+ / 0-)

      A bunch of people who don't know Haiti arriving in the midst of total chaos would hinder more than help.

      Allowing immigrant Haitians to send money home to their families is one of the best ways to help.

    •  This is not at all about allowing people (0+ / 0-)

      to come here on an emergency basis.

      Instead, it is a temporary halt in forced deportations of people who are already in the United States.

      Do you really want to take poor Haitians from the United States and dump them without food or money at the Port au Prince airport right now?  Is that what you're advocating?

      •  Don't be an... (0+ / 0-)

        asshole.  I hate that stupid gotcha shit. I don't know what the fuck I'm advocating.  

        You think you have a perfect solution then do it.  Don't be a dick just because you don't agree with my opinion.

        Haiti is poor as shit and they just had a massive earthquake, well guess what we have a shitload of problems in the U.S. as well and I don't feel we should compound them by simply adding more people with problems.  

        America is my priority and there is nothing wrong with that.  Maybe we send them to N.O. oh we still have to rebuild that city.  

    •  More people, more consumption, more (0+ / 0-)

      jobs, better economy.

      Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

      by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:03:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Agree (0+ / 0-)

        More people, more consumption, more jobs, better economy

        In the same manner in which more people and more consumption has provided more jobs and a better economy thus far.

        <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

        by superscalar on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:07:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually it has (0+ / 0-)

          The recession is the fault of the bankers (aka gamblers and swindlers) not because more people, does not mean more consumption, more jobs, or a better economy.

          Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

          by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:11:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        More tax dollars from fewer people for more people with fewer jobs in a shitty economy.  

        •  Not getting the calculation. (0+ / 0-)

          Are you saying that you think the shitty economy has been caused by anything other than the bankers gambling with our money?

          Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

          by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:12:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My god... (0+ / 0-)

            So you have the cause figured out but it doesn't stop there.

            Just because bankers lost on a gamble that citizens allowed them to do in pursuit of riches doesn't mean we can't make some commonsense decisions on how to not make it worse.

            If people want to help I say send money or go to Haiti.  They weren't exactly running that place well before the earthquake so instead of bringing people on lets have those that are extra dedicated to helping them go there and so them how to build their own place.  

            We will get new immigrants from Haiti either way, I just think we should focus our attention there instead of bring a much higher number of Hatian citizens than we normally would in a situation like this.  

            Where the hell did you come up with that question anyway?  That was kind of stupid.

            •  Stupid? (0+ / 0-)

              GIGO: More tax dollars from fewer people for more people with fewer jobs in a shitty economy.  That sounds nonsensical. Perhaps you can rephrase.

              Oh. And when did you let the bankers blow up the economy?

              Immigration, whether they are refugees  or not, doesn't harm the economy so what you think we should do is unrelated to why you think we should do it.

              Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

              by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:50:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  At one time I would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have agreed with you, but with the economy in shambles and with jobs practically non-existent, I don't see how thousands of Haitians coming to America would help them or us. We have tent cities of our own popping up all over the place, this would only add to that.

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

    by dotdot on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:39:31 AM PST

  •  By week's end Repub will revert to fear mongering (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Conjuring images of flotillas of dark skinned, voodoo worshippin savages disembarking on our native shores. Our "Homeland" as they like to call it now. Roosh L was already gearing up yesterday.  Wait and see. As soon as the MSM gets thru with its obligatory "body count" phase, theyll switch in a heartbeat to "how will this affect America"? Because its always about America. Always and only.

  •  select American cities should welcome Haitians (0+ / 0-) the Twin Cities worked it out to take in the Somali refugees, or like St. Louis welcomed the Serbs. American cities often host refugee populations in times of crisis, I don't see why this should be any different

    MY Erdos number is 2146679321

    by NuttyProf on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:58:50 AM PST

  •  Wish there was a way to retroactively (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, Sentido

    deport people like Krikorian.

    Not sure how he thinks he'd be able to figure out if someone whose TPS expired was later deported. Unless he sits in on every master calendar or merits hearing everywhere all the time he'd never know.

    Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

    by JayGR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:00:15 AM PST

  •  My wife is active in several Christian-related (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Duke1676, Sentido, divineorder, Pakalolo

    online groups. She said this morning that she was shocked that nobody in these groups had interrupted their ordinary babble to express concern for the Haitians.  And why is that?  Plain old American racism.

    If the disaster had been in Canada, say, they'd be talking about nothing else.

    One of the great injustices in U.S. immigration law is the disparity in the treatment of Cubans and Haitians.  If a Cuban gets on a boat and can manage to set foot on U.S. soil--he gets a green card!  But if a Haitian does exactly the same thing, he gets strip-searched, beaten, held indefinitely in crummy detention camps where he might well die from inadequate medical care, and then eventually he gets deported in chains back to Haiti.

    What's the difference between Cubans and Haitians?  Do you think it might have something to do with appearance?

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