haiti: Page 1

Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Why Andrea Quarantillo of USCIS should be fired (misleads about TPS, remittances; Haiti; 100,000 expected to apply) - 03/12/10

Andrea Quarantillo is the District Director for New York of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and if that agency had serving U.S. interests as its first priority she'd be out of a job. From this:

[Quarantillo] expects that about 110,000 Haitians will have applied for TPS by the July deadline.

She says that after the earthquake, Haiti could not support any Haitians returning to the country. The reasoning behind the policy, she explains, was to take some of the pressure off Haiti.

"It also allows Haitian nationals in the US to work and live legally here and perhaps send remittances back home which helps the economy and helps the recovery," she adds.

First, does anyone in their right mind think Haitians living illegally in the U.S. were going to rush to return home after the earthquake? Does anyone in their right mind think that the Department of Homeland Security was going to deport people there right after the earthquake? Does anyone in their right mind think that the DHS was going to conduct large-scale enforcement actions against Haitian illegal aliens? Quarantillo is selling a fantasy world, and the BBC is buying into it instead of calling her on it.

Second, for the reasons outlined here and here, the policies she's promoting will have the opposite effect to that which she claims to want. Those policies will make things worse both here and in Haiti. Remittances won't help Haiti in the long-term, they'll just make them even more dependent on us and less likely to enact reforms.

The best solution to deal with this issue would be to do what the DHS already does: don't enforce the laws. Those Haitians already in DHS's custody could remain there for a while or in some cases could be released with electronic monitoring. A more ambitious plan would involve some form of rebuilding corps in which we'd pay qualified Haitian illegal aliens to return home and help their country. That obviously could be abused but if most of our leaders weren't completely corrupt safeguards could be put into place.

Then, there's this curious bit, bolding added:

Ms Quarantillo says TPS can open up enormous opportunities.

"In eight years you could certainly get yourself a college education, you could probably get a job that might have a skill for which your employer could ask that you be given a green card, and even in that amount of time you would be very close to being able to apply for citizenship," she says.

TPS is supposedly for just 18 months, so where she's getting the eight years isn't clear. Whatever it is, I don't think there's an innocent explanation.

Ms Quarantillo's response [to those who say TPS is permanent] is firm. "It is not an amnesty, absolutely not. Temporary Protected Status is a benefit", she says.

People with a criminal record cannot apply, she stresses.

Nothing in those two sentences makes sense. The stock response to someone saying something is an amnesty is to talk about how it has to be earned; she's saying instead it's a "benefit". Maybe she should check with Frank Sharry or Tamar Jacoby first. The second sentence is a non sequitur: the issue of whether something is an amnesty or not is entirely separate from the issue of whether criminals can apply for the program. Criminals were able to apply to past comprehensive immigration reform bills, but they were amnesties because that's how they would be perceived, not because of who could apply. Does she even understand what people mean by amnesty?

To answer the last question, here's the kicker:

I ask Andrea Quarantillo what happens to the Haitians like Ms Semplice if their temporary work permits are not extended at the end of 18 months.

"When TPS expires, US citizenship and immigration service does not take all those TPS files and turn them over to immigration customs and enforcement and ask them to remove people from the US," she tells me.

"We simply shelve those files. If one of the enforcement agencies needs them because they have an issue with that person, they will call for a file specifically, but we do not just line them up and process them for deportation."

She's at least honest about one thing: TPS is a sham.

Contacting the DHS and suggesting that Quarantillo be fired over her comments would be worthless, since she's doing what the Obama administration wants. However, if you have a minute, please contact your representatives with the link to the BBC article and suggest that they contact DHS with their concerns.

Washington Post editorial promotes policies that would hurt U.S. and Haiti - 01/30/10

For some reason, the Washington Post is a strong supporter of "solving" Haiti's problems by supporting massive immigration from that country. They've done that through at least one article, at least one guest editorial, and now an editorial.

However, what they support would make the situation in both the U.S. and Haiti worse: it would add workers to the U.S. labor market while millions are unemployed, it would help make Haiti even more dependent on the U.S., it would further braindrain that country, and it would make reforms in that country even less likely. See the entries on the Haiti page for the details, including shocking statistics that the Washington Post would make even worse.

In the editorial, they say among other things (link):

Most Haitians on these waiting lists (as part of chain migration), plus 19,000 who have applications in the pipeline, are going to wind up in the United States eventually. Speeding their resettlement here -- perhaps in monthly airlifts of 5,000 or 10,000 -- would help in critical ways. First, it would reduce the overwhelming numbers of destitute Haitians who will need to be housed, fed and cared for, in many cases by U.S. and international groups operating in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere. Second, it would provide an orderly procedure to relieve the pressure building in a country where almost no one currently has a means of exit. Keeping people bottled up in a place as wrecked as Haiti is a sure-fire way to make desperate people more desperate; it raises the risk of violence, instability and chaotic exodus. Third, it would increase the pool of Haitians working in the United States who, even before the quake, provided an estimated one-third of Haiti's gross domestic product by sending cash remittances to their families.

1. They're falsely assuming that we have to allow people to emigrate from Haiti; we have no such responsibility.
2. Their idea of a long-term solution to Haiti's problems is to basically allow as many people as possible to move to the U.S. That's an unworkable, childlike policy.
3. Those who aren't as incredibly corrupt as the Washington Post should be able to come up with a long-term vision for the country that would reduce the possibility of a "chaotic exodus", yet the WaPo isn't suggesting such a thing.
4. If someone's going to be "destitute", it's better in a low-cost economy like Haiti rather than bringing them to a high-cost economy. Given the unemployment situation, those who got jobs would do so at the expense of an American worker; those who didn't would get public assistance at a greater cost than in Haiti.
5. Remittances are like living off candy. If the WaPo weren't completely corrupt they'd suggest building sustainable industries in Haiti and developing a long-term plan to encourage the support in that country for such sustainability.

Up to 200,000 Haitians will apply for TPS, not 30,000 as they said; Mayorkas pulls out all the stops - 01/20/10

While few others were paying attention, the Obama administration has hoodwinked the American public again and is engaging in not just a massive power grab but in a plan that will make the situation in Haiti even worse. From this:

Federal immigration officials are expecting up to 200,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants, including nearly 68,000 in South Florida, to apply for a new federal immigration program that would allow the migrants to legally remain and work in the United States for 18 months.

The estimated number of potential applicants for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is far larger than earlier predictions of about 30,000 Haitians nationwide, according to local immigrant organizations and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials.

The higher figures emerged Wednesday during a briefing with reporters by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. He was in Miami to meet with several South Florida immigrant aid organizations involved in assisting undocumented Haitian immigrants applying for TPS...

...In the spirit of ``generosity,'' said Mayorkas, the Obama administration is likely to waive the application fees for Haitian immigrants on a case-by-case basis. But he would not commit to waiving fees to all applicants... He also said the USCIS staff will ``fast-track'' TPS applications with the goal of delivering work permits within 90 days. Typically, work permits for other TPS applicants can take up to six months.

The next way they're going to fool people will come months down the road, as their "temporary" status is extended for another 18 months (and then another 18 months, and on and on). See the statistics here and the comments here and here for why this will end up making the situation in Haiti even worse. And, of course, with millions of Americans out of work, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to add 200,000 mostly low-wage workers to the job market.

This should be a scandal if not for the fact that the opposition to Obama is largely composed of those who are either incompetent or who care as little about the welfare of working Americans as the Obama administration.

WSJ wants "amnesty" for Haitian illegal aliens; misleads; shows how can't be trusted (TPS) - 01/19/10

The Wall Street Journal offers the brief editorial "Haitian Amnesty/A humane decision for temporary refuge in America" (link). They show how the establishment is lying when it refers to Temporary Protected Status; the establishment has little intention of "temporary" being accurate:

You might even call [the decision to extend TPS to Haitian illegal aliens] amnesty of a sort, if we can use that politically taboo word. But we hope even the most restrictionist voices on the right and in the labor movement will understand the humanitarian imperative. The suffering and chaos since the earthquake should make it obvious that Haiti is no place to return people whose only crime was coming to America to escape the island's poverty and ill-governance.

They're offering a false choice: deportations could have been halted in various ways short of offering TPS. And, as previously discussed, what the WSJ wants will make Haiti's and the U.S.'s situation worse not better.

For that matter, we don't mind if they stay here permanently. Haitian immigrants as a group are among America's most successful, which demonstrates that Haiti's woes owe more to corruption, disdain for property rights and lack of public safety than to any flaw in its people. Their remittances to Haiti also help to sustain the impoverished population. Haitians received some $1.65 billion from overseas in 2006, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

1. The WSJ is basically admitting that the "temporary" part of TPS is just a trick.
2. Either the WSJ can't figure things out or they think their readers can't figure things out. Those Haitians in the U.S. are probably more industrious on average than those who stayed behind, or have more education or more money. Just because some Haitians succeed in the U.S. doesn't mean that would be true of all or most.
3. The 2005 Congressional Budget Office found (www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=6366) that remittances to Haiti were 100 times larger than Foreign Direct Investment. And, remittances were 156% of exports. Both of those are very strong indicators of pernicious problems, ones that the WSJ would make even worse.

We can argue later about whether to make this temporary amnesty permanent, but for now the U.S. decision to let the Haitians stay is evidence of the generosity that Americans typically show in a crisis.

The WSJ has no intention of having an open debate about this issue, because they'd lose. The establishment is going to try to make "temporary" status permanent, and the WSJ's opponents aren't going to be effective against it because they either don't know, don't care, or don't do things the right way. See the question authority summary for the right way to discredit the WSJ and reduce their ability to fool people and promote highly flawed policies.

"Temporary" Protected Status for Haitian illegal aliens pushed by profiteers (Haiti earthquake) - 01/14/10

[TPS has been approved; see the update below]

Yesterday, Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security suspended repatriations of illegal aliens from Haiti; that makes some sense as long as it's actually temporary. What doesn't make sense are the calls from some to give "Temporary Protected Status" in the U.S. to Haitian illegal aliens. The word "temporary" is generally a misnomer as that status is renewed over and over.

TPS would be an infected band-aid that wouldn't fix Haiti's structural problems and in some cases would result in importing Haiti's problems into the U.S. It would also result in brain-draining that country of its more energetic citizens, making things easier for corrupt Haitian leaders. These pushing TPS are at root simply self-serving: they're interested in little more than obtaining political power. They're thinking only of themselves instead of trying to solve problems; they're only making the long-term situation worse.

First, Hillary Clinton of the State Department seems to be implying that the Obama administration will grant some form of TPS (link):

"Well, we have, as you know, many Haitian Americans. Most are here legally. Some are not documented. And the Obama administration is taking steps to make sure that people are given some temporary status so that we don’t compound the problem that we face in Haiti."

From Julia Preston of the New York Times (link):

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, and (Representatives Lincoln Diaz Balart and Mario Diaz Balart) of south Florida, both Republicans, as well as John C. Favalora, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Miami... "If this is not a slam-dunk case for temporary protected status, I don’t know what is," said Kevin Appleby, a spokesman for the bishops. He said the status would allow Haitian immigrants here to work here and send money back to relatives in Haiti trying to recover from the quake.

Appleby's proposal is at heart immoral: he would encourage Haiti to become even more dependent on the U.S. than they already are and he would embed that dependence in their society, instead of encouraging them to develop their own commerce.

The letter from Senators encouraging TPS is here; in addition to Gillibrand and Schumer, the signatories are: John Kerry, Paul Kirk, Jeff Bingaman, Bill Nelson, Dick Durbin, Frank Lautenberg, Chris Dodd, Bob Menendez, Pat Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, Bob Casey, and Bernie Sanders.

From NC Aizenman of the Washington Post (link):

(The Florida politicians including Ileana Ros Lehtinen) are among several leaders holding separate news conferences in Miami on Thursday to draw further attention to the issue. Others include the head of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, who will be accompanied by Edwidge Danticat, a celebrated Haitian author and winner of a MacArthur Fellow "genius" grant. Twenty-six refugee agencies also sent a joint letter Thursday urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to consider TPS for Haitians, and the National Council of La Raza released a statement to the same effect.

That also contains Mark Krikorian seeming to support TPS in this case, as well as this:

"When somebody works here they can support up to 10 times that number back in Haiti. So we're talking about supporting hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti at no cost to U.S. taxpayers," (Steve Forester, a Miami-based advocate with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti) said.

Obviously, he's either trying to mislead people or he can't think things through. Many or most of the jobs they'd be doing would be jobs that Americans who are drawing unemployment insurance could be doing, and much of the labor those Haitians would be doing in the U.S. would be heavily subsidized.

Per this:

"We are considering all alternatives available to us in extending a helping hand to Haiti," (Alejandro Mayorkas of the USCIS) said. He confirmed those considerations include temporary protected status for Haitians.

And, Reform Immigration for America is also promoting TPS with a petition drive: reformimmigrationforamerica.org/blog/blog/

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has joined with several other groups in calling for TPS:

Likewise with Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

UPDATE: Richard Lugar, FAIR, Center for Immigration Studies, Casa de Maryland, and Frank Sharry's America's Voice all support TPS, with Dick Lugar saying:

"It is in the foreign policy interest of the United States and a humanitarian imperative of the highest order to have all people of Haitian descent in a position to contribute towards the recovery of this island nation."

See the comments above.

1/15/10 UPDATE: Janet Napolitano has now approved TPS, but only for those illegal aliens who were here on Tuesday. How they'll be able to tell isn't clear; some people will no doubt try to provide fake documentation showing they were here at that time.

Is Bryan Caplan the world's looniest libertarian? (give every Haitian a green card) - 04/19/08

The New York Times offers "Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger" (link) about high food prices having a detrimental effect on the third world, focusing on Haiti: "experts say there are few quick fixes" to the problem.

That causes "economist" Bryan Caplan of George Mason University to offer the self-evidently ludicrous "The Quick Fix: For the Love of God, Give Every Haitian a Green Card" (link). His grand plan helps show just how insane the libertarian support for open borders is:

Well, I've got a quick fix. Give every Haitian a green card. Invite the world's most precious resource - human labor - to leave a dirt-based economy and get an entry-level job in the modern economy. It's called doing well while doing good. And unlike everything else the world has ever done for Haiti, it works.

This isn't the first time Bryan Caplan has descended into self-parody, and it probably won't be the last.

There are over 8 million Haitians and having most of them come here would present a huge number of social costs, both financial and non-financial. Taking a glance at the CIA page on the country, their literacy rate is just over 50%, meaning that around half of those who came here would only be able to do manual labor, if that. And, the national languages of the country are French and Creole, not English. So, even those who can read and write would have to learn English in order to get a job other than manual labor.

And, the 2003 HIV rate was 5.6%. While not as high as Botswana at 37.3%, that's still much higher than the U.S. at 0.6%. They also have "pervasive corruption" and other issues that are ingrained in their culture. While eventually some or many would Americanize, in the intervening decades those negative cultural issues would simply be moved to the U.S. And, since there are hundreds of millions or even billions of people in the same or worse dire straits, why exactly we should favor Haiti over, say, Bangladesh, Belize, or Botswana is a mystery only Caplan can answer.

Discussing all the other issues with Caplan's beyond-childlike plan is left as an exercise for his students.

March 25 Coalition flyer - 03/18/07

From march25coalition . org/organize

May 1st, 2007 we will be out in the streets, not shopping or selling, if possible not working; but Marching.

On February 3rd & 4th, 2007, a Conference hosted by the March 25th Coalition culminated in a call for a national day of actions for workers and Immigrant's Rights. The day, May 1st, 2007.