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#4510: A Parental Dilemma... (fwd)


A Parental Dilemma
Illegal Immigrants Must Choose Children?s Future  July 4 2000

The only world 6-year-old Jean Henry knows is in Immokalee, Fla., a
small community of Haitian and Latino migrant workers on the fringes of
the Everglades.Jean has lived in the United States for his entire life
in fact, he is an English-speaking American citizen ?     but now his
future in this country is in jeopardy. Esta Pierre, Jean?s mother, is an
illegal Haitian immigrant facing deportation. Now Jean and his
13-month-old sister Gaele may have to go with her.Pierre is not alone in
her predicament. She entered the United States seven years ago using a
forged  passport. She stayed, married, went to work and had     the two
children. Now she is one of 5,000 Haitian refugees ? with about 3,000
American-born children ?who the United States now wants to deport
because they used falsified papers to enter the country.Now Pierre and
the others will have to decide: Do they take their children to Haiti and
a life of desperate poverty, or leave them behind?For Pierre, the choice
is almost unbearable. ?If they send me right now to Haiti, I feel like
they?re digging  a hole for me and sticking me, my kids and my husband
there,? she says. 

 Some Immigrants Granted Amnesty 

Three years ago, Congress granted amnesty to tens of thousands of
illegal Haitian immigrants who arrived in the United States before 1995,
when Haiti was in political and economic turmoil. Those immigrants   
usually arrived by boat or over land.Those who came with fake documents,
usually by plane, were left out of the amnesty.The Haitians facing
deportation are now pleading with Attorney General Janet Reno to
intervene, to suspend the deportations for a year, or until Congress 
can address the issue. The Justice Department says its hands are tied ?
the law must be enforced.Pierre says going back to Haiti would mean
sentencing her and her children to hell. But if she leaves them in the
United States, she may not see them again for years. For her and
thousands of Haitians, there is no good choice.