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#5172: Community leaders seek release of Haitians... (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Published Tuesday, September 26, 2000, in the Miami Herald 

 Community leaders seek release of Haitians who jumped off boat

 Demanding equal treatment for migrants who reach the United States,
 Haitian-American community leaders requested Monday the immediate
release of 14 Haitians who landed in Dania Beach on Friday morning.
 The Haitians -- five males and nine females, including a 2-month-old
boy, a pregnant woman and four unaccompanied teens -- jumped off a
23-foot boat and scrambled to shore with leather luggage. The U.S.
Border Patrol has initiated a smuggling-operation investigation and
detained them, prompting protests from the local community.

 Haitian leaders compared the detainment to the recent case of Cubans
who crashed in international waters in a crop-duster plane taken from
Cuba. The Cuban survivors, who were brought ashore for medical
treatment, are allowed to stay in the United States and were released to
family members. The Cuban Adjustment Act allows them to apply for
residency after a year and a day. ``We were gratified last week when a
group of Cubans were brought to shore and was quickly released,'' said
Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian Women of Miami. ``We
want equal treatment for the Haitian refugees. Most of them have family
members who are willing and able to shelter them.''

 One relative, Cherubin Bauchamp of Naples, said he saw his 24-year-old
niece, Assefida Applys, on television news. ``It pains me that my family
is sleeping in the conditions that they are in,'' Bauchamp said.
``Please do all that you can.'' Bastien said she met with congressional
leaders last week in Washington, D.C., to discuss the passage of Senate
Bill 2912, introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., which removes
some limitations on the eligibility of Haitians and Central
 Americans living in the United States. But Bastien said she was not
encouraged by the meeting. Immigration and Naturalization Service
spokeswoman Maria Elena Garcia said the ``wet foot, dry foot'' policy
only applies to Cuban nationals, and said the disposition of the
recently arrived Haitians has not yet been decided pending the
 investigation by the Border Patrol. ``Asylum seekers should not be
detained,'' said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida
Immigrant Advocacy Center. ``Many Haitians are fleeing because of
 political turmoil in Haiti. When they're detained, it's much more
difficult for them to present their case.'' Immigration attorneys have
better access to asylum seekers if they are not detained in immigration
detention centers, she said. Florida Sen. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, said
relatives should be notified immediately when their loved ones reach
shores. He called for fairness in the law: ``They are being detained
basically because of the country they come