Pentagon Anticipates a Surge of Refugees From Haiti

News & Politics

Years ago, my wife and I participated in a church mission to Haiti. In retrospect, it was one of those pointless junkets. We sang songs, handed out juice boxes, and did manual labor that should have been done by the locals for wages. Even then, it was, as it has been for years, a very dangerous place. The real Haiti is very different than the one near the ports visited by the cruise ships in Port-Au-Prince. It is not Jimmy Buffett’s Caribbean. There is crushing poverty that is unimaginable to a U.S. native. We were warned to stay in the compound if we were not participating in an activity. The compound itself was guarded by a man with a homemade nightstick and a sawed-off shotgun that had the stock removed. We were told one could have a person killed for as little as $10, and on one trip, we drove past a dead body lying in the street. From what I was told by the locals, the UN peacekeeping force did nothing but get in the way and annoy everyone. 

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Haiti is a failed nation, and the events of Feb. 29 and those that have followed them have only compounded the country’s misery. The New York Post notes that as gangs overrun the country, hospitals have closed or run out of medicine. Schools, banks, government offices, and stores have closed, and food and water are running scarce. U.S. missionaries are trapped there, and no help seems to be coming. One missionary commented, “My fear is that we will be caught in the middle of something really dangerous. We’re already on the front lines of it, we’re in a bad area. It’s kind of depressing. The gunfire never stops.”  While the United States did conduct an airlift from its embassy and deployed troops for security, missionaries in the country have heard nothing.

Related: There Is No Cannibalism in Haiti — Or Perhaps at Least Some

The fate of the missionaries remains in limbo, and the State Department has yet to comment on the matter, but the Pentagon said on Tuesday that it anticipates a surge of refugees trying to escape the chaos and violence. During a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, members of the DOD testified that they are preparing for an influx of Haitian refugees. According to the Post Millennial, Florida’s Matt Gaetz was understandably concerned with how this might affect his home state:

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The State Department has a fact sheet that explains that Haitians can qualify for what is known as a “family reunification parole process.” In this case, a person on parole is identified as “an individual who is paroled into the United States (who) has not been formally admitted into the United States for purposes of immigration law.”  This admission process will be done on a case-by-case basis. And no, it does not include the some 3,000 Haitian immigrants coming from Haiti along with people from other countries. 

It is tempting to blame this on the weakness of the Biden Administration, but Haiti has been in a state of collapse for years. If anything, the situation there is an example of what happens when governments become enamored of corruption and crime is left unchecked. Haiti is a tragedy, and it is also a warning.

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