U.S. to Haitians: Stay Home and Bear the Burden

Five days after the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, an air force cargo plane flew one of the first missions of the U.S. military’s aid effort. The plane flew for five hours over the devastated country broadcasting the loud, prerecorded voice of Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, in Creole:

“If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. They will intercept you right in the water and send you back home where you came from.”

The disembodied voice from the sky told Haitians, still stunned by the earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people, that U.S. immigration policy toward Haiti would remain the same as it has for decades. This was despite the fact that just a few days earlier, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had announced 18 months of Temporary Protective Services (TPS) for Haitians who had been in the United States before January 12, and that all deportations in process would be stopped.



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