Haitians here already aggrieved by the devastation of the Aug. 14 earthquake that devastated their homeland are further belabored by the recent announcement from President Joe Biden of his intent to deport 12,000 asylum seekers at the Texas border.
Citing fears of spiking the COVID-19 casualty count in the USA and other security concerns, the commander-in-chief vowed to return eight planeloads of Haitian citizens daily back to embattled French Caribbean island liberated from slavery more than 200 years ago.
The irony of his action conflicts with the Sept. 20 anniversary birthdate of Jean Jacques Dessalines, the revolutionary soldier who mobilized a historic defeat of the French colonial enslavers when no other colony had successfully challenged any European powers.
Dessalines is revered in Haiti and despite back-to-back adversities with the July 7, 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, flood rains from tropical storm Grace, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and other overwhelming travesties this year, the avowed liberator will be regaled from 6 to 9 pm at 206 Parkside Ave. in Brooklyn.
The occasion will mark a bitter-sweet period for Haitians who despite encumbrance are determined to honor their heroes.
Nationals will pour libation in celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the history-making trailblazer while simultaneously monitor the plight of fellow nationals many of whom have experienced perilous travel through South America in order to seek refuge in America.
From the Citadel in Haiti to resident US cities of Florida and New York the anniversary birthdate of Haiti’s self-proclaimed Emperor will be regaled.
Meanwhile last Friday, Texas Gov. Gregory Abbott announced that the state was notified that Department of Defense and Department of Homeland agencies will transport many of the migrants now bunkering in his state to Arizona, California and other parts of Texas for relocation.
Reports are that security forces have been summoned to address the emergency conditions that reportedly is overwhelming Del Rio, a town of 35,000 where beleaguered Haitians have amassed under an international bridge that connects the USA and Mexico.
According to the Associated Press, US Customs and US Border Protection will dispatch as many as 400 agents and officers to assist with improving condition in the South Texas community.
Water and food are desperately needed.
Human rights advocates are also concerned about the lack of medical assistance.
However, along with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Coast Guard of primary role the focus will be expediting relocations.
Many Haitians fled their Caribbean homeland a year or more ago a with more than a few admitting to horrendous conditions they endured during their long journey in order to seek refuge.
On listener-supported, talk radio station WBAI-FM last weekend, Haitian activists claimed that during a two-month period the Biden administration has deported more than his predecessor.
The host and his guests cited hypocrisy claiming that the current president campaigned on a promise of leniency.
While throughout the tenure of the former president he often referred to Haiti in unflattering terms, detained thousands of migrants and failed to address issues of alleged human rights violations and pervasive corruption on the island President Donald Trump reportedly deported fewer Haitians.
“The news of renewed Haitian deportation flights is the type of morally indefensible news we would have expected from the Trump Administration, not the Biden Administration,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice said. “Given the instability and suffering on the ground in Haiti, the last thing we should be doing is deporting Haitians. These deportation flights should stop, full stop.”
In a plea to nationals, Haitians and their advocates are being asked to make phone calls to the White House, Congressional representatives and Homeland Security.
Brooklyn, home to 50,000 Haitian-Americans is renowned for its Little Haiti community which reliably caters to the culinary, medicinal, cultural and other needs familiar to the creole immigrants from the Caribbean.
Four years ago, much ado was made about Dessalines Blvd. which was approved by the City Council and unveiled at the intersection of Newkirk Ave. and Rogers Ave.
The signature landmark positions a thoroughfare renamed in honor of the first ruler of the independent Haiti and liberator who freed his people from slavery by defeating French colonialists.
His army not only defeated the French but the Spanish and British too.
Born Sept. 20, 1758 Dessalines declared himself emperor and ruler of Haiti in 1804 and established the French West Indies locale, the first Black independent republic in the world.
For more info. log onto www.Haitianrefugee.org
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