U.S. policy ignores Haitian plight

Imagine taking a 10-day trip with only salt water and hope to sustain your body.

For Haitians, this is a daily quest met with less than desirable results.

Two weeks ago more than 200 Haitian immigrants packed on a 50-foot sloop and made that journey in search of freedom to the United States.

Friday, 40 of them were granted bonds ranging from $1,500 to $4,500.

But the U.S. government and the International Naturalization Services have said the rest of the group would be repatriated to Haiti.

That’s more than three-quarters of the original group having to sit in a jail cell until they’re sent back to what most of them consider hell.

Their barrier, a policy implemented last December by the Bush administration requiring Haitians to be jailed until their cases are decided. It also states that Haitians and others attempting to enter the United States illegally by sea would be detained, processed and expatriated home.

The poorest country in the western hemisphere, more than 80 percent of its population is living in extreme poverty.

Running water is a dream, basic medical care is non-existent and less than half of the adult population is literate.

According to the World Bank, the average person in Haiti made $480 in 2001.

The United States however does not classify Haitians as asylum seekers but illegal immigrants and has repatriated more than 68,000 Haitians beck to their homeland in the past decade.

It’s more than obvious that these people are not leaving their native country for mere pleasure.

When will these people receive the care and attention they need and deserve? Who knows. One thing is certain. They need help and they need it now.

Vanessa Clarke for the Editorial Board.