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#1964: Haitians Reunite With Mother (fwd)


Haitians Reunite With Mother ________ By Mildrade Cherfils
 Associated Press Writer Saturday, Jan. 22, 2000; 8:28 p.m. EST

MIAMI –– A mother separated from her son and daughter after a boat
packed with 411 mostly Haitian passengers ran aground New Year's Day
was reunited with her children Saturday. In the glare of television
cameras, Marc Yvens Dieubon, 9, and Germanie,8, embraced their mother,
Yvena Rhinvil, while about 50 community leaders, elected officials and
supporters – some carrying American flags –looked on.  Rep. Carrie Meek,
D-Florida, her son, state Sen. Kendrick Meek,  D-Miami, and activist
Marleine Bastien traveled to Haiti Saturday to accompany the children
back to Miami. "This is a unification of a family," Carrie Meek said.
"We have fought hard,but we have not won the battle yet." Rhinvil, 33,
who is pregnant, was one of four people brought ashore Jan. 1, from the
ship stuck off South Florida for medical treatment. Her  children were
left on the boat, and were among the 407 people then  returned to Haiti. 
The shy sister and brother, who had been staying with an aunt in
Port-au-Prince, received yellow ducks stuffed toys as presents from   
community members. The siblings' separation from their mother became the
catalyst for four protests by Haitian-Americans who contrasted their
plight with the immense attention given Elian Gonzalez, the 6-year-old
Cuban boy at the center of an international custody dispute. The Cuban
government is demanding that Elian, who was rescued after a smuggling
accident off Florida killed his mother and nine others, be returned to
his father in Cuba. His grandmothers have traveled from Cuba to plea
with U.S. officials for the boy's return. The two cases highlighted what
critics say is a double standard between the treatment of Cubans and
others seeking refuge in the United States. Based on the Cuban
Readjustment Act of 1966, Cubans who reach U.S. shores are usually
allowed to stay. Haitians and others are usually repatriated, unless
they can prove a "credible fear" of persecution in their homeland.     
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service granted Rhinvil's
children humanitarian parole so they could join their mother while she
pursues a claim for political asylum.