Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti: Fairness for Haitians in the U.S.

April 12, 2007

Update: Grassroots journalist Wadner Pierre only has a borrowed, inexpensive, point-and-shoot camera, but his photographs have made it onto several websites, magazines and newspapers because they convey the political and social reality of Haiti�s poor directly to us. Canadian photographer Darren Ell spent several weeks working with Wadner in Haiti, and was so impressed with his natural ability and willingness to learn that he set up a website to sell Wadner�s photos so he can buy a professional camera and bring us even better photographs. Click here to see and purchase photographs.

Thanks to a generous donor�s gift, IJDH is hiring a part-time fundraiser. For more information, see the job announcement on our website, and please pass the word to anyone who might be interested!

Coming Attractions:� �The Latin America Solidarity Coalition Conference in Chicago, April 13-15, will include several Haiti activities, including workshops on bringing Haiti into the mainstream of Latin American solidarity work and on violence against women. Peasant activist and former Parliamentarian Bolivar Ramilus will address the plenary. On April 21, the Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East (HSNNE) will honor human rights lawyer Bill Quigley and community activist Ninaj Raoulat its Annual Dinner Dance in Bayonne, New Jersey. Bill helped represent political prisoner Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, Ninaj is the Executive Director of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees in New York City.

This Week�s Action: Thanks to FANM Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. – Haitian Women of Miami.� Many of us were shocked and saddened by stories and pictures of 101 refugees from Haiti who landed in Florida in a leaky boat on March 28, only to be immediately locked up by immigration authorities. Many of us wondered what we could do, short of the hunger strike that 2 Florida men are doing to protest the detention. Here are two things you can do to respond not only to the 101 recent arrivals, but also to address the desperate conditions in Haiti that keep generating refugees. First, get informed- we�ve collected articles on the 101 and on how U.S. immigration policy is actually contributing to the despair that impels Haitian refugees (including three excellent pieces by the Miami Herald�s Ana Menendez, that trace the immigration story from Florida back to Haiti). Second, tell Congress to enact a solution, the Haitian Protection Act of 2007, H.R. 522, which would provide Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to Haitians in the U.S.

TPS would allow Haitians currently in the U.S. to stay temporarily, as a response to the natural disasters and political strife that have recently plagued the country. TPS would allow hard-working people to remain temporarily and legally in the U.S. and continue to support themselves, send money back home to their relatives and contribute to the U.S. economy. For details on TPS, see the letter that Rep. Alcee Hastings sent today to President Bush, the Haiti JusticeBlog, and our January 25 alert.

To show Congress you care, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard, 202-224-2131 and ask for your member of the U.S. House of Representatives by name (or if you do not know his/her name, give your zipcode). Your message does not need to be complex or eloquent. Merely telling your Representative�s receptionist �I am urging Rep. ____ to co-sponsor H.R.522IH, the Haitian Protection Act of 2007� will help make a difference. If you want to do more, ask for the staffer who deals with immigration issues, and discuss your concerns with him or her. Ask your Representative to contact Audrey Nicoleau in Rep. Hastings� office, 202-225-1313 to sign up or with any questions.

Click these links for tips on writing letters , and for calling Congress.

For a list of key legislators, click here, for even more information, contact Steve Forester, Esq., Senior Policy Advocate, Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami, Inc., 786 877-6999,

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