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#3468: today's Miami Herald lead editorial/Stetson Law 2000 Public Service Award!! (fwd)
May 4's lead Miami Herald editorial:
EDITORIALS Published Thursday, May 4, 2000, in the Miami Herald
HAITIAN PARENTS OF U.S. KIDS
DESERVE TO REMAIN HERE TOGETHER
Imagine a scene where American children are made to bid goodbye to their
mothers and fathers as federal agents force the parents to board a plane to
where they'll have to rebuild their lives.
After going to extraordinary lengths to reunite Elian Gonzalez with his
Attorney General Janet Reno must not let that tragedy come to pass for the
U.S.-born children of Haitians who soon might be placed in this awful
These parents, some of whom have been here for as many as 20 years, could be
deported at a moment's notice. They'd be forced to choose between leaving
children behind or raising them in a destitute, strife-torn country the
That's what the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which Ms. Reno
oversees, proposes to do. Ms. Reno should be consistent in her concern for
children. For their sake, she must protect these families by suspending their
deportation at the highest executive level.
The next step is for Ms. Reno to allow these Haitians to be included in the
Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998, which was intended to cover
fleeing political violence in Haiti in the early 1990s. The law granted
deportation to Haitians who made it to U.S. shores before the 1996 cutoff
these 10,000 people did.
But unlike those who arrived by boat or other means, most of these 10,000
through South Florida's airports using phony documents to flee that country.
because they broke the law by using counterfeit papers, the INS has refused
let them apply for protection under that amnesty law signed by President
in 1998. One such refugee was a former Haitian soldier who fled after
follow orders and shoot at unarmed demonstrators.
Another is Kenol Henricy who paid $2,500 for a passport and visa that got
Turk and Caicos, then to Miami. He was stopped at the airport and spent four
months at the Krome Detention Center. ``I knew it was illegal,'' says
``There was nothing else I could do.''
That was 11 years ago. In the meantime, his wife died, leaving him alone to
for Kenisha, his asthmatic, American-born child. Since he arrived, Mr.
has worked at the same Medley tool-and-die shop. Recently he's been sharing a
house in Hollywood to help a brother pay the mortgage.
Last August, Mr. Henricy received his deportation letter with an extension
run out in September if he's denied residency under HRIFA. He's interviewing
an INS officer today. If his request for amnesty is turned down, Henricy
may be detained and deported on the spot.
What then? Here he has work and insurance for his asthmatic daughter. In
Ms. Reno must show compassion for children like Kenisha, some who don't
speak a word of Creole. She has the power to stop INS lawyers from
fraudulent-entry cases, and she must use it. The HRIFA law was intended to
correct a wrong, not to break apart families.
[end of editorial]
1) I am honored and thrilled that Stetson University College of Law in
St. Petersburg has decided to confer upon me its 2000 Wm. Reece Smith, Jr.,
Public Service Award! They will present it tomorrow at an Honors and Awards
Ceremony, part of spring graduation.
Dean Gary Vause's letter states: "Congratulations! … The award was
established in 1990 in the name of its first recipient, Wm. Reece Smith, Jr.,
who is a past president of the International Bar Association, the American
Bar Association, and the Florida Bar Association. Mr. Smith also is a
Distinguished Professorial Lecturer at Stetson College of Law. This award
recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary achievements in public
A press release adds: "Mr. Smith was the first recipient of this award.
During his acceptance of the first award in 1990, Smith noted that commitment
to public service is the aspect 'that primarily separates the legal
profession from business.' Smith further commented … '[t]hat trends on
attitudes and practice seem to threaten to reduce a learned profession to a
sheer commercial enterprise. The time has come to make some conscious
choices.…Lawyers must give service to others the highest priority.' …
Stetson, Florida's first law school, will celebrate its Centennial in the