Gilligan, The Department of Homeland Security and Haiti

I know I’m providing hints at how old I am, but how many of you remember the song that starts the TV sitcom, “Gilligan’s Island?” Especially when it comes to the part about the “three hour tour” that lasted way longer?

In 2017, the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security went to visit Haiti to “see for herself” whether things had improved enough to no longer allow the Haitians who are in the United States on emergency status to remain here.

In other words, is there anything in Haiti that they can go back to?

While Gilligan went on a 3 hour tour that got them stranded on an island, apparently, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke could spend four hours in Haiti and determine that things were just fine and that it would be no problem for 60,000 Haitians to show up with no place to live, no job, nothing.

4 hours.

4 hours and a decision that impacts not only the 60,000 Haitians but countless others.

How can you truly analyze the capabilities of a complex and fragmented place like Haiti in four hours?

How can you truly analyze the capabilities of Haiti without spending time in their “used to be Green Belt” that had most of its agriculture wiped out from Hurricane Matthew?

In a place like Haiti with the lack of infrastructure, I can almost guarantee you that Ms. Duke did not come anywhere close to the rural parts of Haiti which are, I’m told, a totally different world than the capital of Haiti, Port Au Prince.

You can’t.

I can’t.

Even the Department of Homeland Security can’t.

So why did they make that decision?

I don’t know, but I have a pretty strong hunch that it has to do with the other decisions that the current administration is making about other immigration issues.

I strongly disagree with Ms. Duke’s assessment of Haiti. I have friends in Haiti who have told me the same thing, some of them in substantially stronger language than I’ve used.

The ramifications for these Haitians who are in the United States, for their children who were born here (and are US Citizens) and for our country and the economic and moral impact are way more significant than most people understand.

I’ll be talking about it more soon and I urge you to talk to people about it, talk to your government representatives. More to come……

It was a four hour tour, not a three hour tour.

But many more people are at significant risk because of that decision and that’s not right.

It’s wrong.

Tom

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