After outcry, forced evictions halted in tent camps ... for now

Melinda MilesMelinda Miles

At the Place St. Pierre there are considerably fewer families living under tarps then there were only a couple of months ago. The Mayor of Petionville’s program of offering each family 20,000 Haitian gourdes (about $500 US) to leave the park has led to a thinning of the camp. Even though $500 will not get a family into a safe housing situation, desperation has led many to accept the funds (which they use for immediate health, food or tuition needs) and then find an equally or even more precarious place to live.

After more than twenty-four hours of rain, the Place St. Pierre smells like something there are no words to describe. Overflowing portable toilets, garbage that floats down during the rains from the homes and businesses in the mountains above, and hundreds of people still living in the mud and fetid puddles. One breath of the air outside the camp is enough to convince anyone that people would never voluntarily choose to remain in the camp if they had any other alternative.

Last week the Mayor of Delmas, Wilson Jeudy, took a different approach. Instead of offering money to homeless earthquake survivors, he simply showed up with agents from his office and Haitian National Police and without warning began to destroy the tarps and tents of families at the intersection of the Delmas and Airport Roads (Kafou Ayopò). Several hundred people living in the park were evicted without warning and without a relocation plan. Piles of tarps donated by the American Red Cross and USAID were strewn amongst the few possessions these families had. These forced evictions are taking place in the midst of the rainy season. Homeless families are now without even the most rudimentary shelter and have nowhere else to go.

Gov Patrick opts against joining Secure Communities program

The Patrick administration has opted against signing onto the federal Secure Communities initiative, citing a “lack of clarity” and inconsistent implementation of a national program that uses locally gathered fingerprinting information to verify the immigration status of those arrested in Massachusetts.

“The Governor and I are dubious of the Commonwealth taking on the federal role of immigration enforcement. We are even more skeptical of the potential impact that Secure Communities could have on the residents of the Commonwealth,” Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan wrote in a letter dated Friday to Acting Secure Communities Director Marc Rapp, informing the Department of Homeland Security that Massachusetts would not sign a memorandum of understanding for participation.

Since the start of the Secure Communities program in 2008, the information sharing capability between local law enforcement agencies and ICE has been expanded to 1,331 jurisdictions in 42 states. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 151,590 convicted criminal aliens have been booked into ICE custody through March 31, 2011, and 77,160 have been deported.

Mattapan forum puts focus on changes to TPS

TPS forum at HAPHI on May 23, 2011TPS forum at HAPHI on May 23, 2011On Monday, the Association of Haitian Women in Boston (AFAB) helped to coordinate a forum about the recent Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extension granted to Haitians by the United States. A panel of public officials and immigration experts gathered at the new offices of the Haitian American Public Health Initiative (HAPHI) in Mattapan to present further details to the Haitian community about this extension. Panelists included Dennis Riordan from US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) , State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, Matt Maiona from American Immigration Lawyers Association and Carline Desire, executive director of AFAB.

On May 17, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the extension of TPS for roughly 48,000 Haitian nationals who currently have the designation. The extension will be effective July 23, 2011 and allows Haitian beneficiaries to remain in the U.S. an additional 18 months - through Jan. 22, 2013.

U.S. extends TPS for another 18 months

Haitians who received "Temporary Protected Status" — or TPS— from the U.S. government last year got good news today: They can stay in the U.S. for an additional 18 months, per the order of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. She announced the extension today and it will be effective July 23, 2011— meaning that Haitian beneficiaries can remain in the United States through Jan. 22, 2013. Roughly 48,000 Haitian nationals have received TPS designation.

Martelly wants business leader as next prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Haiti's new president wants a business leader to serve as his prime minister, a government official said Sunday.

The official announcement that President Michel Martelly wants Daniel-Gerard Rouzier to be the country's No. 2 official comes one day after Martelly, a charismatic pop star known as ``Sweet Micky'', was sworn in as Haiti's next leader in back-to-back ceremonies at a makeshift Parliament and on the lawn of the National Palace, which collapsed in last year's crippling earthquake.

Parliament must still ratify Rouzier to the post.

Boston Haitian 'pioneers' honored at Reporter luncheon

More than 300 people were on hand this afternoon for the first-annual Boston Haitian Honors awards luncheon, hosted by the Boston Haitian Reporter to mark its tenth year of publication. The event included keynote remarks by Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, which has provided critical health services to the people of Haiti for more than 25 years.

Ten years later, the mission remains the same

Bill ForryBill ForryThe idea to spin off a specific English language newspaper in the Boston Haitian community was one that I had long cultivated as the editor of the Dorchester Reporter, which my parents founded in 1983. The Haitian paper was loosely modeled on the Boston Irish Reporter, which was launched in 1990 with a similar mission for the Irish-American community.

The Boston Haitian community, I felt, was poised to blossom over the next decade and it deserved a dedicated publication to chronicle its rise and a forum to discuss the complicated policy issues that were sure to develop along the way.

Pastor Eddy Laguerre to lead Sunday's Unity Parade

Pastor Eddy LaguerrePastor Eddy LaguerrePierre Eddy Laguerre has been named the Grand Marshall of the May 15th Haitian Unity Parade by Haitian-Americans United, Inc. The parade, now in its 11th year, steps off from Mattapan Square on Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. The parade ends at Talbot Ave. in Dorchester. Tens of thousands of Haitian-Americans and friends line Blue Hill Avenue or participate in the parade.

Pastor Laguerre has been in pastoral ministry for the last 30 years. He has pastored many churches throughout the vast territory of the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. He started his pastoral mission in Brooklyn, New York thenjourneyed through Temple Salem in Dorchester, Golgotha in West Roxbury, Ephese in Providence, Rhode Island, Brockton Temple, Philadelphie in Malden and the Cape Cod Haitian American church in Hyannis.

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