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#4243: returning criminals (fwd)

From: J Barnes <jbarnes@massed.net>

I think before we blame the US government for sending us back our criminals
we should blame ourselves, our society for not caring enough about children.
Most Haitian parents, fathers in particular do not take into consideration
the harm and pain caused to children by the lengthy separations during the
long immigration process.  Those who have read Danticat's book Breath, Eyes,
Memories may remember the conflicted relationships the girl had with her
mother after that long separation.  Many children are reunited with long
lost parents during their early teen-age years and the already difficult
years are compounded by the virtually non-existent trust between parent and
child.  Those children who were left in good hands in Haiti and did build a
conscience will pull through.  Many others arrive here already angry,
expecting miracles, and  hating the pain caused by the separations.  As a
middle school teacher I saw several families who did not wait for the
children to get involved with the law and did exactly what the US government
does:  return the kids.  It was in their mind a way to save the children
from a permanent return to Haiti.  Examples of kids returned by parents:  1)
14 year old boy who sexually abuses 7-year old "American" brother and then
runs to the police to complain about his father when he hears the little
brother telling his mom about the abuse.  2)  Twelve year-old who steals my
filing cabinet keys because he sees me storing $150 income from a
fund-raising lunch.  We know its him because he buys a Nintendo, then
confesses.  3) Twelve year-old boy who cries every day during recess mostly
about his fights with other Haitian soccer playing boys, and promisses to
kill them.  Parents usually present a return to Haiti as the ultimate
punishment for children, and it does happen.  Their perspective is that they
will offer this child another chance when he is 18 and when the parents are
no longer considered responsible for their action.  Many parents put
children in extremely stressful situations, and do not help when the
children manisfest their stress trough behavior problems.  I think most
criminals are not born that way, they are created by the way we make kids
suffer in Haiti.  When Jean Robert Cadet writes about his childhood, one
must wonder how he ever pulled out of that life without being mean to others.