Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian Immigration

Through this immigration roundup at The Nation and through drip's comment below, I am reminded of the importance of the U.S. stepping up for Haitian refugees. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has just announced that deportations of illegal immigrants from Haiti are being temporarily stopped, but that's just a first step. Regardless of the natural disasters Haiti faces, their murder rate and history of oppressive political regimes means that they deserve the same immigration status as Cubans.

As you may remember, this was a big deal in the 1990s when Haiti was undergoing so much political turmoil and thousands were fleeing, desperate to get out. At the same time that Cubans were welcomed into this country, Haitians were shipped back. Rightful charges of racism flew from immigration defenders.

Well, now it's time to make up for our terrible history toward Haiti a little bit and let refugees into our country. This could be a useful first step toward broader immigration reform as well. Let's see the Republicans oppose this--either they look heartless toward people in desperate need and fly in the face of the international humanitarian effort or they just resort to racism. Or a combination of the two. Of course, they are likely to raise a stink and maybe they would win on the issue politically, but this is a time Obama has to step up and do the right thing.

Put Haitian migrants on par with Cubans!