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#1732: Penelas: Review migrants' cases -- The Haitian's issu e with the US immigration is very complitated. Carline Comments (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 16:44:33 -0500 
From: BriceWebb, Carline <CBriceWebb@oas.org>
To: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: RE: #1720: Penelas: Review migrants' cases -- The Haitian's issu e with the US immigration is very complitated. Carline Comments

	I don't think those Haitians will have any chance to get a fair
hearing with the United States immigration system, I think there is a
blatant discrimination against the Haitians because of our economical
situation. The Haitian's issues with the US immigration are much more
complicated than the interception of boat people at Sea. I know right now
almost 10 Haitians who have been in the US for almost 20 years and they are
not able to get a fair hearing with the US immigration. There is one Haitian
woman who is living in the US for the past 18 years with two Children born
in the United States. She graduated from high school in the US, and did some
College courses in the US. She has not been able to get a decent job because
she doesn't have a work permit. Out of those odd jobs she could do without a
work permit, she is able to pay the US Government the required 15% income
tax for nearly 15 years. She has no criminal record and the US immigration
has denied her application for a green card. Now, she is afraid they might
be able to force her to go back to Haiti with her children. Was she denied
because she is Haitian? Is the US willing to send back her two children to
Haiti, even though they were  born in the United States? Can the US
government do that? What are her options?  Any comments or suggestions on
how she can correct her situation would be greatly appreciated. 

	Published Tuesday, January 4, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
	 Penelas: Review migrants' cases BY KAREN BRANCH

	 Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, leader of a county whose budget has
	ebbed from decades of needs associated with surges in immigration,
	advocating a change in immigration policy in the wake of Saturday's
	interception at sea of 411 Haitian, Dominican and Chinese migrants.
	 He is not seeking the wholesale release of the migrants intercepted
	Key Biscayne. Rather, he wants them brought to shore for a more
	review of their cases. ``They should be allowed in for the purposes
	an interview, said Penelas, the son of Cuban exiles. ``They should
	been processed here at Krome and given the opportunity. If they meet
	criteria, fine. If not, you have to follow the law. That someone be
	provided a basic due-process right of getting an interview, I don't
	 think that would open the floodgates. The interception struck a
	with several South Florida politicians, who joined Haitian-American
	community leaders Sunday outside the Miami Beach Coast Guard station
	argue to bring the migrants to land for asylum hearings.  Instead,
	migrants were being repatriated to Haiti on Monday aboard two Coast
	 Guard cutters.


	 The request challenges the ``wet foot, dry foot policy in which
	migrants who reach U.S. soil are allowed to remain until they
	their hearing. That usually buys them time to seek legal advice,
	those migrants intercepted at sea.  ``The feeling is those hearings
	the cutters are somewhat perfunctory, somewhat superficial, and
	certainly that was what I was hearing from a lot of the folks
	Penelas said. U.S. Reps. Carrie Meek, D-Miami, and Lincoln
	R-Miami, have also made similar arguments. Despite palpable
	gains in recent years for Haitian-American voters and candidates in
	Miami-Dade, Penelas said his role was not political. He is expected
	 to run for reelection this fall. ``I'm sure you will try to
	everything I do with politics, however, I was there because those
	human beings -- people who I believe should be afforded basic due
	process, said Penelas. ``That's why I was there.


	 Meek, whose congressional district takes in a large portion of
	Miami-Dade's Haitian-American community in El Portal, North Miami
	Little Haiti, has been the most vociferous advocate. She appeared at
	rallies Sunday and Monday to demand the intercepted migrants, 393 of
	whom are Haitian, be brought to land. ``Instead of receiving an
	opportunity to consult with lawyers and a meaningful interview
	with appropriate INS officials, the Haitians are simply turned
	 around at sea and sent back, Meek said in a written statement.
	 At Sunday's rally, Diaz-Balart, also up for reelection in the fall,
	called the policy ``illogical.  He, like Penelas, argued that
	should be allowed to come to land for an asylum hearing if they are
	intercepted in U.S. territorial waters. The New Year's Day
	was just off Key Biscayne.


	 The bipartisan unity on the issue, however, did not extend to Gov.
	Bush. ``He basically supports the current U.S. policy for the reason
	that he believes it
	 helps prevent greater loss of life at the high seas, Bush spokesman
	Justin Sayfie said Monday. ``It acts as a deterrent for people to
	undertake enormous risks at the high seas to attempt to come to the
	United States. That's the concern. . . . The people on board
	are being given the opportunity under the current INS policy to
	their situation and that determination can be made on board the