Some soul-searching on asylum

The opinion-page article ``US `Interest' Limited to Keeping Haitians at Home,'' Aug. 4, challenges all foes and advocates of United States military intervention to rethink assumptions that supposedly explain why ``national interest in Haiti is to keep the Haitians there instead of here.''

The Haitian refugee crisis has been characterized and irresistibly intertwined with the resolution of the political chaos in Haiti. Statistics do support such a linkage in US policy if one compares the near-total halt of emigration from Haiti before the coup with the vast refugee exodus that has occurred since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown from his duly-elected office.

The piece frankly elucidates a number of troubling ironies which feed the refugee crisis debate, only to reinforce erroneous stereotypical assumptions of Haitian asylum seekers. The author sympathizes with the difficulty of separating purely economic reasons from political motives for fleeing Haiti. He points out the irony in asserting, ``If you have a well-founded fear of starvation, that's too bad.''

The real irony is that most Haitians who actually manage to obtain some kind of hearing have, on average, a stronger well-founded fear of persecution than the national average for political-asylum applicants interviewed in the US.

If we still embrace the principle of equality under the law, why shouldn't we simply treat Haitians as we treat any other fleeing asylum-seeker who reaches our borders? Must we not ask ourselves why we provide asylum seekers from anywhere else in the world an asylum hearing, even those who flee for economic reasons, but deny that privilege to bona fide Haitian refugees?

To argue that we do not want more people as a justification for keeping Haitians away from our shores obscures an often-forgotten fact that only Haitians are summarily rejected from our borders. Mark Carrie, Washington

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK