[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
#3603: Jesse Jackson calls for `one set of rules' for immigrants (fwd)
Published Saturday, May 13, 2000, in the Miami Herald
Jesse Jackson calls for `one set of rules' for immigrants
By ANDREA ROBINSON
In a show of support for Haitian Americans, the Rev. Jesse Jackson on
Friday urged South Floridians to demand reforms of U.S. immigration
policies, which he blames for unrest in Miami. In addresses in Liberty
City and Little Haiti, Jackson said the United States must move toward
``one set of rules'' for all immigrants. He also called on South Florida
to move toward healing, referring to sharp divisions in the wake of
Elian Gonzalez's removal from Miami. And he said local political leaders
must lead the way. In Little Haiti, Jackson said the Elian case could be
a catalyst for reforms in Caribbean immigration policy because it made
more Americans aware of the uneven treatment by the U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service officials. Under current policy, most Cubans are
allowed to remain in the United States if they reach land, while
Haitians and others are often returned to their homeland without an
asylum hearing. ``Elian's plight exposes hypocrisy and demands that we
see in the light what we couldn't see in the dark,'' Jackson said.
THREAT TO FAMILIES
During the meeting, activists complained that current INS rules
threaten to destroy families. To illustrate that point, immigration
attorney Steven Forester introduced Jackson to Pierre Charles Herisse of
Pompano Beach, and his 4-year-old son, Pierre Richard. Herisse arrived
in the United States by airplane in 1993 using a fake passport.
Because of that he does not qualify for amnesty, and is subject to
deportation. His son, however, is a U.S. citizen who could be forced to
go to Haiti if his father is deported. Immigration activists estimated
that there are about 5,000 U.S.-born children of Haitians who could be
placed in that situation. Jackson called such policies ``anti-family.''
``Don't separate mothers from their children. We can't drive 5,000
children to Haiti and separate them from their families,'' he said.
In addition, he said, ``we must fight as a matter of human rights, not
just Haitian rights.'' He urged the audience to reach out to other
ethnic groups in South Florida and organize a mass rally this summer to
call attention to the disparities. During a radio interview with WMBM
host Bishop Victor T. Curry, Jackson said healing would not start unless
local political leaders choose ``reconciliation over retribution, and
peace in the heat of passion. . . . You can't heal until you take the
glass out of the wound.'' Jackson said that local leaders should begin
to look for ways to prepare the community for the possibility that Elian
could return to Cuba with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez.
MEETING WITH MAYOR
Jackson briefly met twice with Miami Mayor Joe Carollo. Carollo said he
has been talking with Jackson since last month when Jackson volunteered
to intervene in the negotiations between the Miami Gonzalez family and
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.