Immigration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too many immigrants living in the State of Florida are terrified that they will be sent back to their native countries, where far too many drug gangs have put them and their families in danger of being injured or even killed and through no fault of their own. These men and women were not thinking of themselves when they made  the most difficult decision of their lifetime: whether to stay in their home country or, thinking of their children, to head towards “freedom” in America.

     We must find a way to restore these immigrants their god-given human rights, as so many of them have been working here legally and paying taxes and breaking no laws. These people need to be able to obtain citizenship for themselves and their children: especially when their children are still infants or have yet to reach their adolescent years. These are children who are dependent upon their parents not only for their survival but for the love and the upbringing that is required for all human beings.
     You cannot ever separate children from their parents and their siblings. It is not only wrong it is inhumane and goes against everything a population that declares itself to be a “Christian Society” stands for, or is supposed to stand for.

     Donald Trump is a man who, for some unknown reason, appears to be devoid of human emotions and, thereby, declares the highest compliment to a “leader” such as himself can have; is fear. He wants people, especially other world leaders, to fear him. This is now the (stated) mentality of the P.O.T.U.S.

     We are now living in a time when people are divided to the point of no longer speaking to one another and all over politics.

     There are too many immigrants living in Florida that are in danger of being sent back to their native countries : We must find a way to restore these immigrants, who have been  working here for many years, legally, paying taxes and breaking no laws, a way to obtain citizenship here in America. The majority of these immigrants are from bordering countries, such as Mexico and countries that border Mexico, like Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Belize.
     Most of these families have children and we must protect the human rights of families to be allowed to stay together.

     There are also many immigrants coming from countries separated from the United States simply by a small (and many much larger) slice of the Atlantic Ocean but many of these countries are plagued with poverty and warring with

unconscionable dictatorships and have been for far too long.
     I worked on so many different jobs when I was boxing in Miami Beach, I have long ago lost count and although I don’t remember most of them I do remember the people. I worked with on so many construction jobs as a carpenter and the laborers, for the most part were from Cuba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Haiti.  I also boxed with many guys from Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas and other countries. Carl Moore, from Jamaica, Luis Rodriguez and Florentino Fernandez & Jesus Hernandez from Cuba and Gomeo Brennan, from the Bahamas, come to mind as I remember these guys by their outgoing personalities, their humor and their boxing ability.
     The majority of the guys I worked with on construction jobs in South Florida were from Haiti; a country that has been plagued by despicable dictators seemingly forever, or so it seems. In the 1950’s it was President François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and due to the 1965 Immigration Act, family members were permitted to bring close relatives with them and so somewhere around 7,000 Haitians became permanent immigrants every year, and another 20,000 came with temporary visas.
     I, myself, can still remember sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s when I had returned to Florida to live in Ft. Lauderdale, that Haiti became front-page news as boatloads of Haitians washed up onto South Florida’s shores.  
     The President at that time was John F. Kennedy; the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump, and Kennedy thoroughly deplored Duvalier’s infamous corruption, brutal human rights violations (carried out by the infamous Tontons Macoutes), and tyrannical oppression of his political enemies, an all-inclusive group that ranged from trade unions and churches to the Boy Scouts. The CIA and the State Department’s Special Operations Branch actively armed and supported several unsuccessful exile invasions aimed at overthrowing “Papa Doc” Duvalier.

     At this same time in history, the U.S. actively encouraged Haitians to immigrate. The first to leave were members of the upper class who directly threatened the Duvalier regime. U.S. consular officials readily approved non-immigrant visas and, in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s insane policies, virtually all the immigrants flew to America legally and although many would subsequently overstay their visas, the I.N.S. (Immigration and Naturalization Service) did not pursue their cases, and most eventually became permanent U.S. residents. Today there are approximately 700,000 law-abiding  American citizens of Haitian ancestry living in America, and thanks to John F. Kennedy’s humanity and intelligence they are much freer than would have been thought imaginable if they had been forced to live under the despotic reign of “Papa Doc” Duvalier. But, than, politics entered upon the scene, once again, and things changed, for the worse. John F. Kennedy was assassinated and following his assassination, his policy under his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, became much more concerned with combating communism than with human rights violations in right-wing dictatorships. In addition, Duvalier stood by the United States against Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the U.S., in return, ignored his tyranny and stopped encouraging Haitians to immigrate here.

     In September 1963, the first boatload of Haitian refugees landed in South Florida. They asked for political asylum, but the INS summarily rejected the request and the boat was sent back to Haiti. The incident was a preview of the lengthy disaster to come.  In 1964, the middle class began to leave the island. The 1965 Immigration Act permitted legal residents to bring close relatives with them when immigrating, and the northward stream broadened.

     By the late 1970s, crude sailboats, overflowing with refugees, began to arrive regularly to Florida’s shores: with rumors of boats that had sank and others that were attacked by Duvalier’s army of the Tontons Macoutes. Basically a death squad. The large numbers that did arrive caused concern among South Florida officials, as the desperate plights facing so many Haitians began to make media headlines and Haitian advocates argued that they were fleeing legitimate political persecution and at least deserved a chance to make their case. Repeatedly, the INS used its resources to turn them back.

     François Duvalier’s death in 1971 brought no relief in Haiti’s despotic political conditions when Duvalier’s 19-year old son, Jean-Claude (nicknamed “Baby Doc”), succeeded him as president-for-life. With the murderous assistance of the Tontons Macoutes, he continued, indefinitely, Papa Doc’s reign of terror. In February 1986, anti-government demonstrations finally toppled the regime, and Baby Doc fled to France with his booty: an estimated $120 million dollars.  With Duvalier out, the Haitian masses rejoiced in the belief that democracy would finally come and the flow of refugees into South Florida noticeably lessened although the United States continued to interdict boats and detain their passengers in the ongoing effort to deter Haitians from coming to the United States.

    The economic and political conditions did not improve in Haiti because repression and corruption continued, as the country experienced four straight military coups and one fraudulent election. Human rights violations, desperate poverty, and government corruption remained as an expected, normal part of everyday life. As a result, the number of Haitians seeking refuge in the United States climbed yet again.

     Haitians’ hopes rose, yet once again, with the election of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in December 1990. The activist Catholic priest’s victory which also caused a substantial drop in the exodus of refugees was cheered by all. But the return of democracy and the associated decline in Haitian “boat people” proved all too brief when, on September 30, 1991, after only eight short months in office,  Aristide was overthrown in a military coup and Haiti remains, today, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere where 80% of the population lives in virtual poverty. Tire-burning, road blockages and violent crimes are a normal happening in Haiti. The richest 1% of Haitians own the same amount of wealth as 45% of the poorest part of the population and the national poverty rate is 59% while the extreme poverty rate is 25%.

     Why have I posted such history about Haiti? Because I believe that, with their problems, which are problems, make no mistake about it, that are political as well as economical, and we can see how much they need a chance: a chance at a better life and where better than America?

     But, now, in America, it appears that we, the citizens, have no say, even in our own counties and districts: the constitution has become nothing but a document that lawyers refer to occasionally to assure everyone that freedom is still necessary to have a democracy that allows us to (still) breathe free and proclaim that uplifting statement that we can all still remember holds true today, tomorrow and forever more and which can still be seen at the foot of the Statute of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor,  Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

     Are these not the very people who live on the Island of Haiti? Are they not our brothers & sisters of the Human Race? Why, then, should we shrink from allowing them to become all that they could (otherwise) have become by welcoming them to our shores?

     If we continue to say nothing and remain silent and do nothing and remain unconcerned what can (will) happen? It’s not relevant as much to what we say or do that counts as much as what we don’t say and what we don’t do. We will lose innumerable potential Albert Einstein’s if we remain silent and do nothing. Vote Democratic.