Process Begins To Send Migrants Back To Haiti
Supporters Gather Outside Of South Florida Border Patrol Headquarters
POSTED: 1:38 pm EDT March 29, 2007
UPDATED: 2:04 pm EDT March 29, 2007
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -- A small group of vocal supporters for migrants who arrived in South Florida from Haiti aboard a rickety sailboat Wednesday chanted, while some held signs that said Black Foot, White Justice in front of U.S. Border Patrol South Florida headquarters Thursday.
The supporters were speaking out against a policy that will send the Haitian nationals back to their country and that does not allow them to stay in the United States.
Meanwhile, a member of the Haitian American Coalition is demanding federal officials provide more information about the travelers.
"We are waiting for the border patrol to give us a list of the people who arrived on the boat in order to let their family members know," Lucie Tondreau of the Haitian American Coalition.
A boat carrying 102 Haitians arrived at the shoreline on the beach at 2801 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd. Wednesday around 7 a.m. The boat was "grossly overloaded and unseaworthy," according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
One man died and his body was found 100 feet from the washed up boat. The migrants were at sea for 22 days and without food for five days.
On Thursday, officials were beginning expedited removal proceedings for the migrants to get them back to Haiti quickly even as community leaders try to stop them, Local 10 reported.
Of the 102, 13 juveniles who were on the boat have been turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 30 men have been moved to a special facility near Miami International Airport to make it easier to get the men on planes to send them back to Haiti, and 15 women remain at the U.S. Border Patrol facility in Pembroke Pines, but are expected to be moved to a facility near the airport, Local 10 reported.
One of the supporters outside of Border Patrol headquarters told Local 10 he arrived in South Florida in 1994 on a boat much the same way the travelers did on Wednesday.
Bolivar Charlot said he knows there are risks, but says that "life here is worth it."
Many from the group were taken to U.S. Border Patrol for processing on three Homeland Security buses.
The supporters are protesting the the wet-foot, dry-foot policy that allows Cuban refugees to stay in the U.S. if they make it to dry land. The policy only applies to Cubans, not Haitians.
The vigil for the migrants is expected to continue through the afternoon.
Copyright 2007 by Local10.com.
What Is 'Wet Foot-Dry Foot' Policy?
POSTED: 12:25 pm EDT March 28, 2007
MIAMI -- Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, all Cubans who reach U.S. soil are automatically granted political asylum because Cuba is a communist nation. Cubans caught at sea, on the other hand, are typically returned to Cuba. The "wet foot-dry foot" phrase comes from the different treatment received by immigrants who make it to "dry land."
The policy has been a source of controversy, particularly in South Florida's Haitian community.
Vocal critics in South Florida have protested the differential treatment given to Cuban immigrants versus other immigrants. Several large protests followed the arrival, detainment and repatriation of dozens of Haitians.
Right now the only way Haitian detainees can receive asylum is if they can prove they'll be persecuted if they're sent back to their home country.
Another criticism of the policy in South Florida stems from smuggling operations and life-threatening raft trips that are often used by Cubans to make it to U.S. shores.
CTRL + click to follow link, and look at the desperate journey video.
Apre ke nou fini gade video sa, anpil nan nou ap di" Bondye sovenn deske nou vini nan peyi blan. Nou sove kite peyi d'Ayiti sa a tan, paske anpil nan nou te kap nan bato sa tou." Li le pou nou sispand fe ipokrizi, mete foto nou toupatou kankou diktate peyi sou develope kap pratike idolatri e narcism, bel gason pou moun we chakfwa ke moun vini fe yon ti lekti ou byen bay ti komante yo sou sit la.
Retounin sit la jan li te ye avan pou nou ANN PALE nomalman!!
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