Archive | February, 2011

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Gov. Malloy Appoints Supreme Court Judge


HARTFORD — The Connecticut Judicial system has its third black judge.

This was welcome news to Sen. Eric Coleman (D) who chairs the General Assembly’s Judiciaary Committee.

Coleman today praised Gov. Dannel Malloy’s decision to appoint Appellate Judge Lubbie Harper, Jr. to the Connecticut Supreme Court

“Judge Lubbie Harper, Jr. has been a star in Connecticut’s justice system from the commencement of his service as a judge, and has attracted a lot of attention for his no-nonsense, down-to-earth style,” Coleman said in a statement to the press. “Judge Harper is an admirable selection on the part of Governor Malloy, and I am sure he will do an outstanding job as our newest Supreme Court Justice.”

Judge Harper currently serves as an Appellate Judge, as chair of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System, and as Connecticut’s representative to the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.

He was nominated to the Appellate Court in 2005 by Governor M. Jodi Rell, and to the Superior Court in 1997 by Governor John G. Rowland.

Harper, 68, graduated from the University of New Haven, received his Masters from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He lives with his wife Twila in North Haven, Connecticut.

The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Judge Harper’s nomination on March 11.

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How to Get Un-Elected


LatinoLA, Commentary

I must say that the campaign for the 14th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council is already shaping up to be one of the best examples of how one LOSES a council seat. It’s been years since we’ve had incumbent eff things up this bad in quite a long time.

I mean it’s been years since Art Snyder had to “retire” from office because of his inability to keep city-owned cars from flying off the road and into various other vehicles, light poles, and stop signs after long nights “working” in his council office.

A City Council seat ($180K a year) in Los Angeles is as good as gold. Richard Alatorre served the 14th District moderately well until he no longer had any more friends he could “help.”

Antonio Villaraigosa used the district as a springboard to the mayor’s office.

I assume that incumbent 14th District Councilmember Jose Huizar has a sense of history and knows that with just a little bit of effort he might be able sit in that chair in City Hall for years to come.

But no — Huizar decided to show us all how NOT to get re-elected. I thought that his lack of attention to the “meat &potatoes” issues (papas &carne asada?) would only help him NOT get re-elected to a certain point. The pot holes, gangs, graffiti, lack of supermarkets and other retail and economic development, the bevy of massage parlors, and ineffectual schools (he was a school board member before the City Council) just wasn’t enough for Huizar.

In his infinite wisdom, Huizar decided a few years back that his campaign motto was going to be “if it was good enough for Nixon, then its good enough for me.” I can see him channeling the voice of Tricky Dick in ordering his staff to put together spreadsheets of his “friends” (boy just think if he had put that thought to a better use he could have beaten Zuckerberg to the punch).

Now I’m not a prima donna, so I know that in the realpolitik of our country politicians spend an inordinate amount of time raising money to get re-elected. So in that world, knowing who your “amigos” are is important.

I suppose that Huizar’s got a lot on his mind so it’s tough to remember who his friends are. So a list would be helpful.

Obviously, the organization that friends belong to is important to note…but I’m going to hazard a guess that assigning a rating scale to their level of importance and “friendship” is at a whole other level.

Thank god the staff also included a legend so that we could understand what the numbers meant (very thoughtful…again I suppose that the staff figured that Huizar would have so much on his mind that he would forget what the ratings meant).

This makes the recent revelation that Huizar’s campaign manager sent out a missive in which he said that he was going to put a political “bullet in the forehead” of challenger Rudy Martinez no surprise. The missive said “we are going to unleash the dogs of Satan on Rudy and he is going to wish he never heard the words ‘team huizar.'” (Funny but I don’t remember dogs in the whole heaven &hell thing…also doesn’t ‘team huizar’ sound like a real estate broker?).

Ok, so in light of the whole Tucson massacre, was “bullet in the forehead” the right way to go? I’m going to say

NO. Perhaps it was easy to laugh some of this stuff off a few months ago as locker room humor between the candidate and his consigliere but then you compound the problem by putting that in an email? As my abuelita would say, “¡Que tonto!”

If he’s trying to figure out how to get himself fired, or un-elected, from a $180,000 a year job, Huizar has done everything right. He almost makes the City Council members in Bell look like decent people (yeah, they stole money but at least I haven’t seen or read that they were advocating physical violence on their opponents).

It’s obvious that someone bought the Huizar campaign all six seasons of The Sopranos (Ralphie was my favorite character) and they decided that they were going to go Jersey on Rudy.

Here’s a note to Huizar and his campaign: Stop with the Lists and the Death Threats and figure out how to clean up the graffiti, fix the potholes, improve the schools and get some supermarkets in the neighborhood that have a bigger fresh produce selection than a tequila selection.

With a B.A. from Cal, a Masters Degree from Princeton and a Law Degree from UCLA, you just figure he’d be the right guy for the gig. Yeah it might be tough but that’s what you get paid to do.

Duh.

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Eating Healthy on Food Stamps


New America Now, Audio, Sandip Roy,

Yoav Potash joins Sandip Roy to discuss his new film Food Stamped, which follows Potash and his wife for one week as they attempt to eat a healthy and balanced meal on only food stamps.


MP3

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Police Arrest Man For Stabbing Incident


HARTFORD — City police on Saturday arrested a local man after he stabbed someone with a pair of scissors on Maple Ave .

Police arrested Juan Torres, 41, of 62 Campfield Ave. without incident. He was awaiting a court date after the Monday holiday.

Officers responded to a call from 545 Maple St. and found the unidentified victim with five punctured wounds on his left thigh area and one next to the right eye, police said. The victim was transported to Hartford Hospital for treatment.

Torres was located at the same address of the incident, 545 Maple St., and taken into custody, police said.

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Recession Expanded Racial Economic Gap


By George Curry, NPPA News Analysis

The notion that when whites catch a cold, Blacks get pneumonia has been validated in two recent studies that show the economic gap between Whites and people of color has grown during the economic downturn.

That’s the conclusion reached by a Center for American Progress report titled, “The State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy” and by a State of the Dream report by United for a Fair Economy titled, “Austerity for Whom?”

“The Great Recession of 2007-2009 produced widespread employment losses for communities of color and white families alike — losses that have yet to be overcome amid the still tentative economic recovery,” the Center for American Progress study observed. “All U.S. households were severely hurt by the recession but communities of color experienced larger losses than whites. This also means that as the economic recovery deepens and the labor market recovers, communities of color will have to climb out of a deeper hole to regain the same level of economic security as they had before the crisis.”

But there were significant variations even among people of color.

“Americans saw few economic gains during the last business cycle, with stagnant or declining homeownership and wages, high unemployment rates, and low employment rates even as the economy grew,” the Center for American Progress reported. “Latinos, in comparison, saw comparatively strong job gains that were reflected in other gains, particularly in homeownership, during the last business cycle. Those gains, though, were insufficient to provide a buffer for Latinos once the recession hit, leading Latinos to lose most of the ground gained during the previous business cycle [March 2001 to December 2007].”

Although the data showed Asian-American employment and income were on par with those of whites, that observation could be misleading, because it relies heavily on figures for Chinese and descendants from India. Very little data were compiled on Vietnamese Americans or Cambodian Americans, two groups likely to be less affluent than Chinese and Indians.

According to data compiled by the Center for American Progress:

• The unemployment rate for African Americans was 15.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to 12.9 percent for Latinos, 7.3 percent for Asian Americans and 8.7 percent for whites.

• Homeownership rates for Blacks in the third quarter of last year were 45 percent, compared to 47 percent for Latinos and 74.7 percent for whites.

• Racial and ethnic differences have stayed the same or worsened during the recession and recovery. Unemployment rates rose faster for African Americans and Latinos than for whites, while homeownership rates fell faster. “Trends for poverty rates, health insurance coverage, and retirement savings also show widening gaps by race and ethnicity throughout the recession and recovery after 2007.”

United for a Fair Economy is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that focuses on economic equality. It issues a “State of the Dream” report each year on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

“Four decades after the Civil Rights movement, Blacks still earn only 57 cents and Latinos earn 59 cents for each dollar of white median family income,” this year’s report noted. “The contrast is even starker for net wealth; that is, the total value of investments, savings, homes and other property minus any debt. Blacks hold only 10 cents of net wealth and Latinos hold 12 cents for every dollar that whites hold.”

As President Obama and Congress continue to address the nation’s economic woes, they should understand how seemingly neutral changes in Social Security and reducing the number of government employees will have a disproportionate impact on African Americans.

For example, 59.1 percent of elderly African Americans and 64.8 percent of elderly Latinos depend on Social Security for more than 80 percent of their family income. Among whites, the figure is 46 percent. Without Social Security, 53 percent of elderly Blacks and 49 percent of older Latinos would live in poverty.

Largely because of limited job opportunities in the private sector over the years, Blacks have turned to government employment to advance their careers. According to the State of the Dream study, Blacks are 70 percent more likely to work for the federal government than whites and 30 percent more likely to work in such public sector jobs as teachers, social workers, bus drivers and public health inspectors.

This is particularly true for Black males. Black males earn 57 cents to each dollar of white male earnings, the report states. In the public administration sector, however, Black males earn 80 cents to each dollar of white male earnings.

Whether working in the private or public sector, African Americans are beginning to see an erosion of past economic gains.

In 1947, Blacks earned 51 cents to each dollar of white family median income. By 1977, African Americans were earning 56 cents to each white dollar, a gain of 5 cents.

“Then, as the backlash took hold, progress slowed – and stopped,” the State of the Dream report noted. “By 2007, Blacks earned slightly over 57 cents (57.4 cents) to each white dollar, a gain of just one penny in 30 years. Two years later, as the Great Recession set in, Blacks lost a half-cent, ending at 57 cents to each white dollar of median family income.”

As Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over budget cuts, the State of the Dream report proposes more race-sensitive policies.

It says: “We must honor the legacy of Dr. King by enacting policies that can help to narrow the racial economic divide and bring the opportunity for prosperity to all Americans.”

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. He can be reached through his website, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.



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Report: More Houses and Condos For Sale


HARTFORD — More single-family homes went on the market in January, compared to last year, according to a recent Greater Hartford Association of Realtors’ report.

Housing inventory rose 6.3 percent  or from 4, 739 to 5, 038 when compared to Jan. 2010. And  the median sale price of single-family homes rose 1.4 percent  or from $215,000 to $218,000.

Closed sales, however,  dropped by almost 8 percent  or from 429 to 396), and pending sales decreased by almost 8 percent or from 579 to 533  during this same time frame, the report states.

New listings also dropped by 22 percent, or from 1,286 to 1, 004.  And the average number of days a house spent on the market increased by almost 10 percent  or from 81 to 89 days.

New listings compared to the previous month show an almost 50 percent increase  or from 676 in December to 1,004 in January.

The median sale price decreased 4.39 percent (from $228,000 to $218,000) and closed sales dropped 34.76 percent (from 607 to 396). Pending sales rose 13.40 percent (from 470 to 533) and inventory decreased 3.56 percent (from 5224 to 5038) when compared to the previousmonth.

The conduminum market did not fare as well as the single-home market.

Closed sales of condominiums in Greater Hartford decreased by almost 12 percent or from 119 to 105  this time last year. The median sale price also dropped by 3 percent  or from $170,000 to $165,000 over the past year.

Inventory increased by almost 2 percent from 1,586 to 1,611, and the average number of days a condo spent on the market in 2010 increased by almost 4 percent or from 89 to 92 days.

“The rise in housing inventory means more options for buyers who can take advantage of historically low interest rates,” Greater Hartford Association of  Realtors President and CEO Jeff Arakelian stated.

In the national housing outlook, Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, credits good affordability conditions and economic improvement to the rise in pending sales for December.

The Greater Hartford Association of REALTORS® (GHAR) is the largest local real estate trade association in Connecticut, serving 3500+ members in the 57 town Greater Hartford real estate brokerage community. The Association provides technology, training, networking and business support to members, and supports a healthy real estate market by upholding high professional and ethical standards through a Code of Ethics, ongoing education and certification programs. As the advocate for the real estate brokerage industry, GHAR is the Voice for Real Estate® in the Greater Hartford region. For more information, call 1.860.561.1800 or visit www.gharonline.com.



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Community Providers React To Budget


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Community Providers Association yesterday gave a thumps up to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget that favors maintaining most community-based human services, which are safety net for thousands of residents.

Malloy’s proposed budget maintains level funding for most community provider accounts, but  it does make other cuts in the safety net for people with disabilities.

“Governor Malloy has had to make very difficult decisions in this budget,” said Terry Edelstein, President of CCPA in a statement.  “We are very pleased that this budget avoided major across the board cuts.”

CCPA officials said they are also pleased to see a commitment to meeting growing demands for services, maximizing Federal revenue through expanded Home and Community-Based Waivers and shifting more services into the community through Money Follows the Person, they said.

For the most part, community provider services are level funded. However, there are no increases tied to inflation, even for residential programs with mandated rate inflators.

There are “cost savings” that will likely be passed on to providers reducing their reimbursement such as the proposed co-pays in the Medicaid program, officials said. And  there are also direct reductions in the DCF budget, some tied to the “miscellaneous contract types” that had been recommended for cuts in previous budget options.

“We ask policy makers to remember that community providers are a key part of the solution to this fiscal crisis,” said Patrick Johnson, Jr. President, Oak Hill and CCPA Board Chair.  “With adequate funding we can continue to provide vital health and human services in a cost-effective and efficient way.”





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City Legislators: State Budget Solid On Education, Cities…


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed 2012-2013 budget so far is solid on education.

That was the consensus among most Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday after Malloy gave his first budget address before the House of Representative and Senate at the Capitol in Hartford.

Overall, the city’s top political leaders were cautiously optimistic about the governor’s proposed $18.2 billion budget and praised the commitment to education refrom, from preK-12  to higher education.

“What I’m hearing is good,” said Hartford’s 7th Assembly District Rep. Doug McCrory (D). McCrory is also vice chair of the Education Committee.

The 2nd District State Sen. Eric Coleman (D) agreed.

“Certainly, I like what’ve heard,” said Coleman, whose district includes Bloomfield, Windsor and Hartford. “But as we all know, there has to be an examination of the details. We have to face up to our reality…some things might be cut.”

Malloy said last week that one proposed cut not in the budget is a slash to the state’s Educational Cost Sharing grant. The ECS is a formula used to disburse money to schools. The governor also reiterated his commitment to closing the academic achievement gap.

“It is dismaying to all of us, that Connecticut has the largest achievement gap of any state in the nation,” he said in his 38-minute speech. “That so many of our children are falling behind without ever getting the chance to get ahead — is something we should not tolerate. That’s why, despite the fiscal challenges we face, I refuse to put an additional burden on our cities and towns by reducing funding for local education.”

Malloy also proposed education reform in the state’s school funding formula, support for future funding of universal prekindergarten education and teacher tenure rules so that administrators can retain talented teachers.

In addition, he proposed a new student data and teacher accountability system, $60 million for magnet schools, $6.5 million for charter schools, $7.2 million for Open Choice program and $50,00 for Regional Educational Service Center to study ways to regionalize transportation and save money.

Of the $18.2 billion proposed 2012-2013 budget,$2.8 billion, or 15 percent, is allocated to education.

Malloy’s budget address on educational issues also received applause from some Republicans.

Malloy reaches across to shake a hand after he presented his proposed budget at the Capitol on Wednesday

Republican Chairman Chris Healy said he “gives him credit on education.”

But, Healy said, Malloy’s budget doesn’t cut anything.

“The Democrats definition of tax cuts is not spending more than what was spent last year,” Healy said.

And therein lies the crux of the debate on the budget as it moves to the Appropriation Committee next week. The proposed budget includes a “broadbase”  tax increase of $1.5 billion. Budget Chair Benjamin Barnes said in his briefing that 19 percent of new taxes would paid by businesses and 81 percent of it by individuals.

Other highlights of the governor’s proposed budget includes a reduced number of state agencies by 30 percent, or from 82 to 53. Also, the first five companies bring 200 or more jobs to the state would receive a series of tax credits.

Sen. John Fonfara who represents the 1st District of Hartford and Wethersfield, said he is in favor of the proposed budget because it addresses energy reform, pre-school education and job creation. With the proposed budget, if approved “cities like Hartford will get the attention it needs,” said Fonfara (D). “We have some who understands the need of cities.”

But 5th District State Rep. Marie Kirkly-Bey (D) said she was concerned about proposed cuts that would affect the poor. Kirkley-Bey said the only direct mention of something that favors the poor is the Earn Income Tax Credit. Malloy calls for a “robust earned income tax credit of thirty percent.” This would allow an additional $1,7 00 per year for a family of four, he said.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he welcomes all the help the city and can get from the state and the EITC is a key issue that affects the city.

“I applaud the Governor for supporting a State Earned Income Tax Credit and additional monies for affordable housing and homelessness prevention efforts,” Segarra said in a statement to the press. “I am also pleased by his willingness to provide municipalities with optional local revenue generators; it clearly demonstrates that, as a former Mayor, he understands our present limitations, needs and challenges.”

Union officials also reacted to Malloy’s proposed budget, which calls for cuts in the higher education system, including community colleges.

“The Governor’s proposed budget is just that, a proposal.  As I have noted previously, this is a kind of political and economic theater,” said Steve Cohen, president of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges in a email to members. “We are only now at the end of Act I, Scene I, so we have a long way to go until the “play” ends.

From Feb. 23 to March 4, the Appropriation Committee will hold public hearings to discuss the many needs and challenges in Hartford and other towns and cities. Residents can voice opinions, recommendations and suggestions to the state’s proposed 20012-13 budget.

Or they can do so at Malloy’s scheduled town hall meetings across the state in the coming months.



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Center Offers Grants For Teaching Tolerance


The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program is seeking nominations for a new award that will honor educators who excel at teaching students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Teachers are invited to apply for the award at www.tolerance.org/award. The deadline for applications is June 1.

The Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching has been created to recognize outstanding teachers and promote their practices in the nation’s schools.

Five winners will be selected to receive $1,000 at an awards ceremony in Washington in late 2011. They also will be videotaped in their classrooms to allow educators across the nation to learn from their expertise.

The award was created because teaching practices that are particularly effective for students from diverse backgrounds can be difficult to visualize and implement.

An expert panel of scholars and National Board Certified teachers will pick the winners.

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U.S. Resumes Deportations to Haiti—One Deportee Dies


EDITOR’S NOTE: The U.S. government has resumed deportations to Haiti, despite a cholera epidemic and political unrest. To learn more about what is happening to the deportees, NAM contributor Dr. Erin Marcus spoke with Cheryl Little, co-founder and executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami.

Why did the U.S. government resume deportations to Haiti?

They tell us is it’s all about public safety, keeping the American public safe.

What they told us at the time [that they announced the new policy] was they were going to be deporting the worst of the worst criminal offenders—axe murderers, rapists, that kind of thing. We subsequently learned that anybody who is labeled a criminal— and in Florida, for example, if you’re driving with an expired driver’s license for four months, you’ve committed a crime—that even individuals like that could be subject to removal under this new policy. So obviously, we were very concerned.

So far, one planeload of 27 Haitians has been sent back to Haiti, on Jan. 20. Who was on that plane?

According to the U.S. government, they were folks who had been found guilty. They had all finished serving their sentences. It may be that some of these Haitians had serious criminal histories, but we also know that a number of them did not. In the vast majority of cases, they had already been released by immigration and customs officials and were abiding by all the requirements of their release. They didn’t get into trouble again. They were doing everything that our government was expecting them to do, and then the next thing they knew, this new policy went into effect and they were rounded up, sent to different jails across the country, and the first planeload of Haitians left Louisiana and arrived in Haiti on January 20th.

Many Haitians and other detainees have told us they pled guilty because they were advised to do so by their attorneys. They were told the sentence would be light and they’d get out of jail sooner. They didn’t understand the serious repercussions of a guilty plea with respect to their immigration status.

We know that first flight that went back included folks like Roland Joseph, whose entire sentence was six months. Nonviolent offense. Regardless of the criminal history, if someone has served their time, served their sentence, they shouldn’t be sent back to a country where they could well be facing a death sentence.

What happened to the people who were returned?

The Haitians who were returned were placed in four different jails outside of Port-Au-Prince. Our government has repeatedly told us that they’ve been working on a viable reintegration policy so that when Haitians are sent back they’re properly cared for. I can tell you, the reintegration policy is practically nonexistent. They’ve reached out to a group, Alternative Chance, a nonprofit operating on a shoestring budget, and they can’t begin to provide these detainees with the help they need.

What have you heard about conditions in the jails?

We know that conditions are horrific, and one of those 27 Haitians who were sent back unfortunately died. Imagine the worst-case scenario, and that’s it. Recently there was a cholera outbreak in the jails. Not surprising, given the crowded and unsanitary conditions.

If you don’t have family or friends to bring you clean water and food, you don’t eat, and you don’t drink clean water. You don’t get anything unless you have family there to care for you. In the best case scenarios, these (deportees) have distant family members or family members they haven’t seen in a long time.

What do you know about Wildrick Guerrier, the deportee who died?

It’s our understanding that he was sent back at the last minute. Shortly after he arrived in Haiti and was jailed, his condition quickly deteriorated and he wasn’t getting proper treatment. He [had been a lawful U.S. resident since 1993, when he arrived as a teenager, and ] had no family in Haiti, so an aunt who lives here in South Florida flew to Haiti, realized he was deathly ill, and insisted they release him. They released him on Jan. 27th and he died shortly thereafter. We know he had cholera-like symptoms—uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting—but we don’t know whether he died of cholera.

Guerrier had served less than two years in a U.S. jail for a conviction on a charge of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon while he was working as an security guard. Earlier, he was accused of committing battery on a police officer during a traffic stop, but he only got probation. There was a probation violation and that’s when he got one year, six months, suspended. When we interviewed him over the phone, he said his lawyer made him plead guilty (and) he wanted to clear up his immigration record.

[The remaining deportees were released from jail in Haiti on Jan. 31].

What do you know about the logistics of how these Haitian were detained by immigration officials?

Immigration officials went to their homes in the early morning hours and at gun point arrested them, detained them. One hundred of these Haitians were at the Krome Detention Center (in southern Miami-Dade County) early on and we had a number of attorneys wanting to meet with them, but rather than permitting us to do that, the Haitians were transferred to three jails in Louisiana, where it’s virtually impossible for them to get legal assistance.

We have asked the government to bring the Haitians back to Miami or other places where there are viable pro-bono programs so they can get proper representation. We believe some of these Haitians are eligible for relief from removal, but it’s extremely difficult for us to help them given that they’re in Louisiana and we’re not.

Deportations have been suspended in the cases of immigrants from other countries after natural disasters and political upheavals. Do you think Haitians have been singled out for particularly harsh treatment?

Here at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, we represent folks from all over the world. I know of no other group that’s been discriminated against to the extent that the Haitians have. They just want to be treated like human beings. Federal courts in the past have said that Haitians have been singled out for discriminatory treatment. Other immigrants whose countries are in dire conditions such as Haiti do not have to go through this.

What could be done to change the deportation policy?

Right now this administration can say, well, we’re not going to deport these Haitians at this time because it’s the wrong thing to do and there’s nothing right about this. That can be done in a heartbeat. It’s just unconscionable that our government is sending anybody back to Haiti at this time. We have repeatedly said this could amount to a death sentence, and sadly we were right.

What is the status of other Haitian immigrants?

A number of Haitians arrived post-earthquake because their homes had been destroyed. Their kids were living in tents in the street, and we are asking this administration to permit those Haitians to apply for Temporary Protected Status, so that if Haitians arrived here in the aftermath of the earthquake in order to survive, they have an opportunity to remain here temporarily. A lot of these Haitians had jobs in Haiti, their kids were in school, that’s the country they love and the country they want to return to. But they need a temporary reprieve. We have applied for deferred action for a number of these Haitian families and in most cases we’ve gotten no decision, so we fear that those cases are going to be denied.

We’re also very concerned about the Haitians in Haiti whose relatives in the U.S. are lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens, who had applied to get visas and come here legally. Those visa petitions have been approved, but those Haitians aren’t being allowed to come here because there’s a quota system and there are backlogs and so they could wait five or ten years. I talk to Haitians here and they say the visa’s been approved, but my loved one is living in a tent. Why can’t I bring them here? Haitians here who have family members in that situation are traumatized because they feel helpless.

Dr. Erin Marcus is associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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