Haitian pastor dies on U.S. doorstep

This upset me very much.

From the St. Petersburg Times and The Sun/Sentinal:

The man above, Joseph Danticat, died as the result of the mixed treatment for asylum seekers given by Homeland Security. Dantica was hospitalized and died Nov. 3 of an inflammation of the pancreas. The government said he had the disease when he arrived. He also had a valid visa to enter the United States. DHS detained him anyway, sending him to Krome prison.

According to the Haitian rights group, Dantica's son said his father suffered from a heart condition and his medications were taken from him by authorities.

He told DHS immigration officials the truth: That he was seeking asylum. That he also had a valid U.S. visa. He could easily have said nothing and walked right out of the airport. He could than have filed for asylum at a local DHS office.

John Pratt, a lawyer hired by the family, wasted no time in petitioning for the Rev. Dantica's humanitarian release. The DHS refused saying that he had to pass an asylum interview first.

Four days after arrival, he and Pratt began the asylum interview when the Dantica suddenly threw up.
Pratt described the medic called in as ''insensitive''. The medic suggested that the reverend ''wasn't cooperating'' because his eyes were open.

He was eventually taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. But his family was not allowed to visit him. He died there, alone, after five days in custody.

NEW YORK, Nov. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Caught in the terrifying crossfire of the political violence and lawlessness that has gripped Haiti since September, 81-year old Joseph Dantica ran away to the United States, seeking shelter and comfort in the arms of his family. Instead, he faced the hellish nightmare Haitian refugees before him have confronted when seeking asylum in the US: held overnight at Miami International Airport, placed in detention at Krome North, isolated from family, friends and legal help, facing an Immigration bureaucracy that from the top down has been hostile to Haitians' claims of fear of persecution. He arrived in Miami on Oct. 29, and was pronounced dead on Nov. 3.

"Pastor Dantica was a man of faith who put his fate in the hands of the US government. A visitor to the US since the 1970s, he had little intention of spending the rest of his life in the US. He hoped to return there when peace and calm were restored," said Jocelyn McCalla, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. He was instead treated like a pauper. Neither his frequent visits to the US, nor his close relationship with his famous niece, celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, compelled a more humane government response.

From Moorish Girl:
Unlike Cubans fleeing communism, who are allowed automatic entry if they reach U.S. shores, undocumented Haitians are routinely detained. U.S. officials have gone as far as arguing that the Haitians represent a national security threat; Attorney General John Ashcroft recently cited intelligence reports that Muslim terrorists were trying to use Haiti to infiltrate the United States.

The United States, after Homeland Security denied culpability, is going to investigate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

freedom in america is a concept that only the privileged can define as paradise and live it as such. its a nightmare for everyone else, its a cold slap upon waking up in the middle of a nightmare that never ends unlike some films.