[OP-ED]: Haitians: A Witch Hunt?
Donald Trump’s supporters are not nice people, and they expect him to preside over the most racist and anti-immigrant administration in memory.
The president, clueless in so many other aspects of government, is working hard and efficiently to terrorize immigrants and keep his hardcore backers happy, even though he is under criminal investigation by the FBI. By the way, in an unbelievable action worthy of Benito Mussolini, Trump just fired James Comey, the director of the agency investigating him.
Just a few days ago, Associated Press made public that the White House had added still another group to its bigoted list of ethnic or religious communities targeted for campaigns of persecution, arrest and deportation: Haitians.
“They are picking us off one by one,” someone posted in Facebook, referring to similar campaigns targeting Mexicans, Central American women and children seeking asylum, and Muslims. Making the administration’s racism even more obvious, light-skinned immigrants have been spared by Trump’s immigration enforcement policy. I mean, have you ever heard of any ICE operative directed to white European undocumented immigrants?
The fact is that a dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over the heads of the roughly 55,000 Haitians who currently benefit from Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which allows them to legally live and work in the U.S., and will expire on July 22. The U.S. must either revoke it or renew it every 18 months.
Haitians had plenty of reasons to deserve the TPS after the devastating July 2010 earthquake which killed 300,000 people and left 1.5 million injured. They still do. But James McCament, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has recommended its termination. Such a drastic decision would mean sending back thousands of people to the hemisphere’s poorest nation, ravaged not only by the earthquake but also by devastating floods, Hurricane Mathew and a deadly cholera epidemic.
As reported by the Associated Press, consistent with Trump’s modus operandi, the persecution of Haitians is beginning to look like a witch hunt. In an unusual and unfair decision, the Trump administration seems to want to determine the fate of an entire community by the actions of a few.
No longer satisfied with determining if conditions in Haiti have improved enough for the TPS to be revoked or if, on the contrary, they continue to be so poor that it should be renewed again, Trump’s minions have started to dig for evidence of crimes committed by Haitian immigrants, apparently as one more factor in deciding the humanitarian program’s fate. AP obtained internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services emails in which the agency’s policy chief is also asking how many Haitian TPS recipients are receiving public benefits, which would be illegal.
Yet, the great majority of Haitians living in New York, New Jersey and Florida are law abiding and hardworking and, instead of persecution and punishment, they deserve respect and gratitude for their contribution to U.S. economy and culture. Their families, their country, would be hard pressed to survive without their remittances and it is imperative for the TPS to be extended again.
Ironically, candidate Trump, who seeking their votes told Haitians in Miami last September: “I really want to be your greatest champion,” doesn’t need them anymore and now wants to deport them. It’s not easy to find a greater bully or a greater hypocrite than the current president of the United States.