Haiti and the United States: Connected
April 5, 2004
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has written in The Wall Street Journal, “The spectacle of human misery is harder to ignore than it used to be, but the crucial difference from the past is that chaos can no longer be contained by frontiers. It tends to spread, whether in the form of refugee flows, terrorism, or illicit trafficking in drugs, weapons and even human beings. No one wants to intervene, but ultimately there is no choice.”
The Migration Information Source has just released a Spotlight on the current relationship between the United States and Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. In it, Kathleen Newland and Elizabeth Grieco evaluate U.S. interdictions of Haitian refugees and asylum seekers and the unique hurdles these refugees face.
Newland and Grieco also provide insight into Haitian immigrants living in the United States, and the correlation between applications for legal permanent residence and cycles of violence within Haiti.
“Every U.S. Administration since Ronald Reagan’s has been determined to prevent Haitians from coming to the United States in large numbers – especially to the politically sensitive state of Florida,” Newland said. “As political violence erupted in Haiti in February of this year, more than 1,000 Haitians were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Only three were screened for refugee claims, and even they were returned to Haiti without a full asylum hearing.”
This month for the first time, the Source also provides easy-to-access
data on the 9.6 million applications for asylum lodged in 38 countries
in Europe, North America, Oceania, and Asia between 1980 and 2002. This
tool allows users to analyze where asylum seekers are coming from,
to which countries they are applying, in what numbers, and in what years.
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