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6556: Haitians seek help to stay in U.S (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Published Saturday, January 6, 2001, in the Miami Herald
 Haitians seek help to stay in U.S.____ by JACQUELINE CHARLES

 With less than two weeks before President Bill Clinton leaves office,
South Florida
 immigration advocates are calling on him to help thousands of Haitian
families on
 the verge of being deported. The deportations, say advocates, would
affect at least 10,000 Haitian families, forcing those with U.S.-born
children to choose between returning to Haiti with their kids or leaving
their children behind in the United States.
 ``It's a horrific decision for these families,'' said Cheryl Little,
executive director of
 the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. ``It's a no-win, no-win
situation for these
 families.' Several advocates including the Haitian-American Grassroots
Coalition, which
 sent a letter to Clinton on Thursday, are asking the president to
provide Haitian
 refugees with temporary protected status by ordering the Justice
Department to
 delay their deportation for 24 months and allowing them to be covered
under the
 Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act. Presently, the families are
being denied the opportunity to adjust their status under the act
because many of them entered the country using fraudulent documents.
Until last month, advocates were hopeful that Congress would pass a more
sweeping immigration bill, the Central American and Haitian Parity Act
of 1999, that would have granted Central Americans and Haitians the same
rights to
 political asylum that a 1997 law gave Cubans and Nicaraguans.
 Instead, GOP members only passed certain provisions, among them:
 thousands of immigrants to pay a $1,000 fine and stay in the United
States while
 their applications for residency are processed. Under current law,
applicants must return to their home countries to wait anywhere between
three and 10 years while the paperwork is processed. The fine provision,
however, runs out on April 30.
 By intervening on behalf of the Haitian families, Clinton would in fact
be buying
 them time -- to make another attempt at Congress, something they admit
 be even more difficult under a Republican-led administration. ``These
 have not abused their welcome. Many have worked, paid taxes and
contributed to
 this community,'' said Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian
Women of
 That's exactly what Riguad Moise, a former Haitian army officer, has
done. He
 says he spent seven months under house arrest after refusing to shoot
 during the country's coup d'etat against President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. After
 being released, Moise used a fake passport to come to the United
 His wife, Cinette Dorlus, 33, also used a fake passport to flee Haiti.
One of the
 couple's three children was born here. ``It's hard for us to leave the
kids here and go to Haiti,'' Dorlus said. ``I don't know what to do. I
can't go back to Haiti and leave my kids here.''