Americans have been telling legal Haitian immigrants to go back to their country for years… and now they are. How and why?
According to USAfacts.org, since 2018 alone, the U.S has welcomed over 45 million immigrants from all over the world. These families and individuals have left everything behind in order to pursue the “American dream”, as it is advertised. They soon learned that this dream would not be an easy climb due to the oppressive and systemically racist wall that barricades immigrants and people of color from reaching it. After years of being chastised, overworked, and with the promise of the American dream nowhere in sight, immigrants are finally listening.
The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump addressed the influx of Haitian immigrants and the extent of their stay, in a recent interview. President Trump stated “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” Why do we need more Haitians? That’s a great question if you get your news from biased news sources’ headlines. First and foremost, immigrants make up more than a third of the workforce in some industries, not to mention the fact that the children of immigrants, many of whom are born or raised in the U.S, statistically show promising futures.
“I felt disrespected” explains Franchesca Noel, a Haitian American student at Broward College in Miami, Florida, home to many Haitian immigrants in the U.S. “ This is like what he (Donald Trump) said about Mexicans, that we’re lazy. We’re not lazy. That we take your jobs? but those are the jobs you don’t want to do. We are hard-working people.”
The Temporary Protected Status is granted to eligible nationals affected by conflict and natural disasters in their own countries. TPS recipients, such as the ones affected by the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, are permitted to work and study in the country as long as they renew their status every 6 months to a year. As of today, their status remains at a standstill while they wait for the house to respond to their legal standing in the country. According to Center For American Progress, Cap analysis shows removing the efforts of just Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian immigrants alone, from the U.S economy, would decrease the GDP by $164 billion over the next ten years. So not only is the president undeniably racist but he’s also a bad businessman.
In “Why Black Americans are Moving to Africa”, writer Princess Jones discovers that those 126 people who move back to the motherland, do so to escape the overwhelming racist tensions in America, for their children. Whilst they are aware of the country’s lack of modern technology that allows for convenience, like Haiti they are rich in natural resources. Where Haiti lacks in opportunity and infrastructure, they make up for a sense of community, tradition, and organic living.
The going back movement is not just the physical migration of Haitians everywhere but giving back home, investing back home, and taking care of those still living back home. Haitian households here in the U.S have long invested part of their income into sending money, goods, and clothing to the families they’ve left behind, all while contributing to the U.S economy. Many carry on with having businesses to their feed their families both here and in Haiti.
SOBEH, a nonprofit organization, founded by entrepreneur, Guety Lazarre, has made it its mission to invest back to Haiti in response to the lack of aid and education in the country. Solidarity for The Wellness of Children in Haiti, established in 2017, has raised over thousands of dollars in the past few years and has been able to feed over 300 Haitians children in the province of Haiti. And this is one of many organizations that work to improve their home country’s conditions.
“Haitians have been migrating to the United States since the 1980s. We’ve worked, and had children in this country. It’s been a great escape for many of us, but part the goal has always been to search for a better life for our families and to use those resources to help some of us back home. We haven’t taken this opportunity for granted as we contribute greatly to this economy.” explains SOBEH’s Fundraising Director and TPS recipient, Matob Francois.
SOBEH’s overall goal is to build orphanages and schools dedicated to feeding and educating the youth in Haiti, in order to reinvest their skills back into the country. Due to corruption, famine, and high levels of poverty, it will be long before many Haitians can physically go back to their homeland. By giving back they hope to slowly rebuild Haiti, in hopes of one day going back to a better home. Like the rest of the world, Haiti faces yet another catastrophe due to the viral pandemic sweeping the globe. SOBEH isn’t able to physically help the people of Haiti this year but continues to raise awareness and fundraise for the underprivileged kids of Haiti in their community. Challenged by Covid-19, SOBEH actively supports the residence of Miami, Florida affected by high unemployment rates and lack of government funding by donating time and non-perishable food items.
A xenophobic comment such as “Go Back to Your Country,” is an insult to every hard-working legal immigrant, their economic and cultural contribution to the United States. President Donald Trump continues to explicitly disregard TPS recipients’ contributions in the U.S., which could cost an already plummeting economy billions of dollars over the next decade. Living conditions in Haiti make opportunity and hope scarce. Unlike Ghanaians, Haitians may not be able to physically return to their “ Shithole” country for a long time. Like SOBEH, many Haitians and Haitian American youth work diligently to enhance the lives of future generations here and in Haiti.
For more information on S.O.B.EH and how you can donate visit: http://www.sobehinc.com
About the author:
Lindsay Francois is a graduating undergraduate from Florida International University, majoring in Public Relations and advertising. She is the owner of The POWER ROOM blog, launching August 1st, 2020; a blog that motivates and entertains ambitious women to build better habits and practice self-care. Coming from a family of philanthropists, she is the volunteer Public Relations manager for Solidarity For The Wellness of The Children in Haiti, and an advocate for education among young women in underprivileged countries such as Haiti. A TPS recipient herself, she actively participates in local elections in North, Miami, in order to create small changes that will drive a much bigger impact in the community. You can find her on Linkedin, and follow the PowerRoom blog on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at PowerRoomMag and her launching website at Powerroommag.com on August 1, 2020.