What More Can I Say?

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The thing about having a bi-weekly column is that if something happens on a Tuesday afternoon, I have to wait at least six days to address it in this space.

And the thing about me is that I don’t like to write about a topic unless I think I have something meaningful to add to the conversation.

And that’s pretty difficult to do after six days.

And so there’s likely nothing new for me to say about last week’s earthquake in Haiti, no words I can conjure up to express the sorrow that drives me to turn the channel from news reports before the tears come too fast to wipe them away, the anger that eats at me when I hear idiotic televangelists opine that the death and destruction is payback for a people who “swore a pact to the devil” for their freedom, the helplessness that comes over me when I realize how little I have to contribute to the cause.

Perhaps it’s enough to tell you what’s going on in the skies above Haiti. The New York Times reports that an Air Force cargo plane is flying over the land five hours a day blasting the following message from Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador in DC (translated from Creole by the Pentagon): “Listen, don’t rush on boats to leave the country. If you do that, we’ll all have even worse problems. Because, I’ll be honest with you: If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from.”

He’s not kidding; The Coast Guard is patrolling the waters to keep people in, and US Department of Homeland Security officials are prepping to send any Haitians who somehow make it to the states to Guantánamo Bay. And most who have applied for visas to get medical treatment in the states have reportedly been denied (as of yesterday, just 23 had been let in). The exceptions: some orphaned children will be granted entry for possible adoption, and deportations to Haiti have been temporarily suspended.

I guess it’s cool to help our Haitian brethren, as long as it’s from afar.

All the more reason why we should do our part to help the survivors rebuild their lives so they don’t have to flee to lands that don’t want them. If you’re in NYC, check out this Parlour-sponsored fundraiser. If you’re looking for another way to give, read this list of ways to help that Steely D put together.

Know of any other ways we can help? Want to share how you’ve made a difference? We welcome it.

—Kenrya

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  • Vivian

    I don’t think that is a fair accusation against the Obama administration. Allowing people to believe that risking their lives to reach the US will afford them an opportunity to stay is not only erroneous, but also dangerous.

    Obama’s administration extended a special immigration status to Haitians living illegally in the US that protects them from deportation for the next 18 months and allows them to work here.

    BTW, D.R. is also not allowing Haitians to cross into their country. Not to be heartless, but most countries aren’t equipped to take on the population of another country.

  • Like your other readers, I’m sure, I am hurting for the people of Haiti and trying to do what I can to help.
    Having some knowledge of immigration law and public administration, I have to say that I don’t think it’s fair to assume that the US should be allowing Haitians into the country just because of the disaster their country is facing.
    While some folks are anti-immigration or just plain xenophobic/racist, others would LOVE to open our nation’s borders to Haitians and anyone else dealing struggling in their homeland. Unfortunately, it’s really just too complicated. The logistics alone are mind-boggling. WHere would they go? How much would it cost? How long should they stay? When can they go back and how will we make sure that they do? Yadda yadda. It’s already a clusterfuck dealing with the normal influx of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants when we’re not staring in the face of a natural disaster. I’m not saying it’s the best scenario, but I understand, ya know?