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#3468: today's Miami Herald lead editorial/Stetson Law 2000 Public Service Award!! (fwd)


May 4's lead Miami Herald editorial:

  EDITORIALS           Published Thursday, May 4, 2000, in the Miami Herald 



 Imagine a scene where American children are made to bid goodbye to their
 mothers and fathers as federal agents force the parents to board a plane to 
 where they'll have to rebuild their lives.

 After going to extraordinary lengths to reunite Elian Gonzalez with his 
 Attorney General Janet Reno must not let that tragedy come to pass for the 
 U.S.-born children of Haitians who soon might be placed in this awful 
 These parents, some of whom have been here for as many as 20 years, could be
 deported at a moment's notice. They'd be forced to choose between leaving 
 children behind or raising them in a destitute, strife-torn country the 
children have
 never seen.

 That's what the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which Ms. Reno
 oversees, proposes to do. Ms. Reno should be consistent in her concern for
 children. For their sake, she must protect these families by suspending their
 deportation at the highest executive level. 

 The next step is for Ms. Reno to allow these Haitians to be included in the 
 Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998, which was intended to cover 
 fleeing political violence in Haiti in the early 1990s. The law granted 
amnesty from
 deportation to Haitians who made it to U.S. shores before the 1996 cutoff 
date, as
 these 10,000 people did.

 But unlike those who arrived by boat or other means, most of these 10,000 
 through South Florida's airports using phony documents to flee that country. 
 because they broke the law by using counterfeit papers, the INS has refused 
 let them apply for protection under that amnesty law signed by President 
 in 1998. One such refugee was a former Haitian soldier who fled after 
refusing to
 follow orders and shoot at unarmed demonstrators. 

 Another is Kenol Henricy who paid $2,500 for a passport and visa that got 
him to
 Turk and Caicos, then to Miami. He was stopped at the airport and spent four
 months at the Krome Detention Center. ``I knew it was illegal,'' says 
Henricy, 32.
 ``There was nothing else I could do.''

 That was 11 years ago. In the meantime, his wife died, leaving him alone to 
 for Kenisha, his asthmatic, American-born child. Since he arrived, Mr. 
 has worked at the same Medley tool-and-die shop. Recently he's been sharing a
 house in Hollywood to help a brother pay the mortgage.

 Last August, Mr. Henricy received his deportation letter with an extension 
set to
 run out in September if he's denied residency under HRIFA. He's interviewing 
 an INS officer today. If his request for amnesty is turned down, Henricy 
fears he
 may be detained and deported on the spot.

 What then? Here he has work and insurance for his asthmatic daughter. In 
Haiti --

 Ms. Reno must show compassion for children like Kenisha, some who don't
 speak a word of Creole. She has the power to stop INS lawyers from 
 fraudulent-entry cases, and she must use it. The HRIFA law was intended to
 correct a wrong, not to break apart families.

[end of editorial]


1)      I am honored and thrilled that Stetson University College of Law in 
St. Petersburg has decided to confer upon me its 2000 Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., 
Public Service Award!  They will present it tomorrow at an Honors and Awards 
Ceremony, part of spring graduation.

    Dean Gary Vause's letter states:  "Congratulations!  â?¦ The award was 
established in 1990 in the name of its first recipient, Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., 
who is a past president of the International Bar Association, the American 
Bar Association, and the Florida Bar Association.  Mr. Smith also is a 
Distinguished Professorial Lecturer at Stetson College of Law.  This award 
recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in public 

    A press release adds:  "Mr. Smith was the first recipient of this award. 
During his acceptance of the first award in 1990, Smith noted that commitment 
to public service is the aspect 'that primarily separates the legal 
profession from business.'  Smith further commented â?¦ '[t]hat trends on 
attitudes and practice seem to threaten to reduce a learned profession to a 
sheer commercial enterprise.  The  time has come to make some conscious 
choices.â?¦Lawyers must give service to others the highest priority.' â?¦ 
Stetson, Florida's first law school, will celebrate its Centennial in the 
year 2000."