pw-haiti.jpgPW: When wild pigs and dogs eat a human corpse, they leave the feet. The photo is too gruesome to print here. The torso and head are missing. The pelvic bone, thighs and legs have been licked clean of all skin and muscle, leaving just bones that, without size perspective, could easily be mistaken for well-devoured chicken wings. Except for the left foot, still intact, and the right foot, still wearing a sock. Local immigration lawyer Tom Griffin took the photograph of the dismembered corpse in 2004 on the road leading out of City Soleil, the Haitian neighborhood sometimes called the “Calcutta of the Caribbean.” New victims appeared on that road and many others in the Port-au-Prince slum almost every morning. You can’t blame anyone for not wanting to go back there…It was this country’s broken immigration system that started up this modern-day Underground Railroad. Tom Griffin, a Philadelphia immigration lawyer who has concentrated on Haiti, explains it like this: The U.S. has what’s known as temporary protected status (TPS) for natives of seven countries: Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan and Liberia. All have TPS because of “ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions,” according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you’re from one of those seven countries but you’re here, legally or illegally, the U.S. government won’t force you to go back. If you’re not from one of those countries but you’re scared to return home, you can apply for asylum. Good luck. “If you’re Cuban and you reach the American border, you get a green card basically with no questions,” says Griffin. “If you’re Haitian, you get arrested. That’s just for political and racist reasons.” Generally, he explains, a Haitian will apply for asylum because of the turmoil. “A lot want out because it’s so poor and so desperate. But you can’t get asylum for escaping poverty–you can only get it for human rights.” After a failed asylum case, some are deported directly from detention. MORE

RELATED: The Lamp For Haiti

PREVIOUSLY: Give Locally, Act Globally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *