Saturday, February 28, 2009
Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. Last year alone, aside from the political and social unrest, 2008 held numerous environmental disasters including mudslides. We all heard about the collapse of a school in November that killed nearly one hundred young students and wounded many more. In response to this chaos and disarray, the United Nations sent 10,000 peacekeepers to help and support. The aid is hardly enough.
Throughout this difficult time, the Haitian government requested that the United States grant temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants. Bush considered the request for a few short months, before declining it and ordering further deportation of the Haitian immigrants.
To make matters worse, many of the Haitians deported are not criminals. Rather elderly, mothers, and people who have lived in the United States for years who have no where to go once in Haiti.
My question to Human Rights Human Wrongs, spring 2009, is should there be a sixth element to being qualified for asylum including environmental disasters that the government cannot protect its people against? If people starving in jails can gain asylum because their government is unable to feed them, shouldn't natural disasters count as well? Surely IJs and ICE attorneys would see this as too large a group etc. However, Haiti is the POOREST country in this hemisphere, there should be some loophole here. That is not to say that the U.S. should invite all of Haiti here for a vacation during the rainy season. But why send innocent people back into the dangers of Haiti? Perhaps President Obama can help change this unnecessary cruelty against our weakest nation on this side of the globe.