As Haitians in the U.S. scramble to learn the fate of friends and family members following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, and relief efforts are organized in communities across the U.S., ethnic media outlets are providing a vital link to news and information about the situation in Haiti.
Bostonhaitian.com, the web site of The Boston Haitian Reporter is continually being updated with Twitter feeds and news reports about events on the ground in Haiti and relief efforts in New England and around the nation.
The site reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross has set up a database for people to search for missing loved ones.
The Grio features videos about Haitian immigrants in New York seeking information about their relatives in Haiti and a pilot in Florida who is planning a relief flight to Haiti. The site also has an opinion piece by David Love that asserts that talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh and evangelist Pat Robertson have used the Haitian disaster “to spread racism.”
Information about the response of New York’s Haitian immigrant community can be found on the Haitian Times website.
After yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that some 30,000 pending deportations to Haiti have been suspended, calls are already being heard for Haitians to benefit from Temporary Protected Status, which has been applied in similar catastrophic situations to Hondurans, Salvadorans and others. (France has also stopped the deportations of Haitians.)
The calls come at a time when the case of one would-be deportee was prominent in the news, at least locally in New York. This blog has been covering the case of Jean Montrevil, a Haitian-born U.S. resident and community activist who, after years of fighting against deportations that separate families, was himself detained to be sent back to Haiti two weeks ago.
Now, Montrevil’s deportation is presumably on hold, like other Haitians for whom there is a pending expulsion order. But Montrevil is still at an immigrant detention jail in Pennsylvania. Today activists were expected to gather outside a Manhattan detention facility to ask for his release and to show solidarity with New York’s sizable Haitian community, according to a press release from pro-immigrant organizations.