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# 1866: Black Activists Protest Immigration (fwd)


Black Activists Protest Immigration                                  
Updated 6:55 PM ET January 15, 2000
By MILDRADE CHERFILS, Associated Press Writer 

  MIAMI (AP) - Black activists at a rally honoring Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. on Saturday  called for an end to what they see as a double
standard in U.S. immigration policy that  favors Cubans over Haitians. 
  The group of about 150 people denounced Miami officials for going to
Washington on  behalf of 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez while "not
saying a word" about more than 400  would-be immigrants shipped back to
Haiti after their boat ran aground New Year's Day.   "It's a simple cry
that we're calling: Be fair," said Rev. Willie Simms, a member of the
  Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board. Under the 1966 Cuban
Readjustment Act, Cubans who reach U.S. soil can stay. But there
  is no such law for Haitians and others who arrive here illegally. They
are sent back unless  they can prove a "credible fear" of persecution in
their homeland.   While politicians were fighting to keep Elian in the
country, Haitians Marc Dieubon, 9, and  his sister Germanie, 8, among
the 411 whose boat ran aground, were sent back to Haiti  even though
their pregnant mother had been taken ashore for medical treatment. 

  U.S. officials said they weren't told Yvena Rhinvil's children were
with her, and the  government last week said the children would be
allowed to reunite with her in Florida  while her political asylum claim
is processed.   Ms. Rhinvil attended Saturday's rally and thanked the
Haitian community. "They're standing with me and fighting for me," she
said. "I thank them very much." Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of Democracy
Movement, said the children probably wouldn't  have the opportunity to
be reunited with their mother in Florida had it not been for Elian. 
  The Cuban boy has been living with relatives in Miami since he was
found Thanksgiving  Day clinging to an inner tube after the boat he was
on sank and his mother drowned. The Immigration and Naturalization
Service determined the boy should be returned to his father
  in Cuba, but his Miami relatives are fighting for custody. The
controversy has sparked weeks of protests in both countries.