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Commenters oppose Haitian immigration

One subject guaranteed to generate huge numbers of angry and often racist comments from our readers is any suggestion that some foreigners -- in this case Haitians -- should be permitted legal entry into the United States. We have that situation today with the news that there is growing debate in Washington over whether the government should let in more Haitians as that country struggles to recover from the earthquake.

Almost 300 comments have been filed on that story at the hour this is written, and the vast majority of them are negative to even the suggestion. Many see this as adding to the problem of inadequately protected U.S. borders. Many note that millions of dollars have been texted or donated in other ways to help Haiti recover. Many assert that Haitians would arrive without skills or education, etc., etc.

As Amy Goldstein and Peter Whoriskey write, "a growing number of Haitians -- and their relatives in the United States -- are starting to chafe under the Obama administration's edict to resist as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has put it, 'an impulse to leave the island and to come here.' "

We'll start with forcewinder, an early commenter whose tone was reflected by many others in writing, "We have enough people sneaking in as it is."

screwjob2 suggested, "Tell them to walk next door to the Dominican Republic. Or maybe the Vatican City wants to grant them sanctuary, since 95 percent of Haitians are Roman Catholics."

But ac0606 who wrote after more than 100 negative comments had been filed, said, "I can understand why some of you are so upset, you haven't learned that your Mom and brothers lost their house. Your best friend died. Your family is alive but slowly starving to death. It's easy to cast aside these Haitians as we'll help them through donations. Personally, I want my husbands mother here for us to take care of while her country is rebuilt, right now she's in a tent with her two younger sons and begging us to help her. Do you know how hard it is to hear your family starve to death? Die?... How dare you say they are uneducated and will be on welfare. Did you know that many kids in Haiti will go to school for longer hours than U.S. children, speak at least two languages, and are far harder workers than most of the teenagers I see in our own country...."

gsigas said, "If they have a way to support themselves in the U.S., either through skills or through families providing for them, then I believe they should be allowed in."

But Classic3 offered, "Give me a break, just what this country need, more people to feed and house. Why is the USA expected to be all things to all peoples? If they want to see their family or friends, jump on a boat or plain, go and stay as long as you like."

Client-9 wrote, "Help them best we can in their own country. But please no more "temporary" visas (which are really permanent."

MKadyman said, "The last thing that we need is tens of thousands of Haitians coming here. Most are thieves and many are violent. Keep them where they are!"

moebius22 wrote, "You have to live in South Florida to understand this. Haitians feel it is unfair that they are blocked, while Cubans are smuggled in past the Coast Guard (on speed boats) by smugglers at a cost of $1,000 a head. Once these Cubans touc US soil are automatically US citizens. Haitians being poorer than Cubans cannot compete with that and have their rickety boats turned back by the Coast Guard...."

holly23 wrote, "... Obviously texting them $5 is OK but you sure wouldn't want to be their neighbor.Are we a nation of uncaring hypocrites, even toward wounded children?...I hope these posters do not represent Americans overall--or I am ashamed."

To which silencedogoodreturns replied, "YOU need to get over yourself. I am ashamed that a "citizen" of the US can be so caught up in a Kum bah Yah moment that you lose your bearings. Americans are giving hundreds of millions to Haiti, and are effectively running the country now. We DON'T need to import their problems to show our humanity. Grow up."

JWx2 said, "NO! let them re-build their country..why does the US have to pick up their hammer when we supplied the board and nails."

WylieD wrote, "As many as Haitians as want to come. Just as soon as you decide which desperately poor Mexicans, Hondurans, Ecuadorians, Guatemalans, Sudanese, Ethiopians, Congolese, Chinese, Tibetans, Indians, Pakistanis, etc, get bumped off the plane."

Hokie2007 said, "Wow, absolutely not. These are among the most corrupt and least educated people on earth. Haitian immigrants will serve absolutely no purpose that desperately poor persons from other nations can't already provide. We have enough strain on our welfare system as it is..."

vickie1 wrote, "...The American people wouldn't feel so against these refugees if it wasn't for the 20 million plus illegals here already. We are tired and drained.
Yet the Hatians are the ones in real need of help."

NCIndependent said, "The last thing we need in this country is more illegals. We have our own poor and homeless. While I feel for them, we are stretched to the limit. However, being the granddaughter of immigrants, I remember a time of quotas AND people who wanted to come to this country having a SPONSOR. If family is already here, that's one thing, but that should be it. Sponsors. If not, find somewhere else..."

williamsbonita wrote, "I don't understand. How do you parole a dying child?... Is this anything like the presidential pardons to criminals? Are quotas so important that we can leave people to suffer and die? We say we are a Christian nation. So, if we help the least you serve God. We say we are humanitarians, so we should help suffering humans, right? We say we are spiritual, doesn't that mean we should be trying to help those in despair? Thank God that Jesus did not work with parole and quotas."

To which Ali4 replied, "Just why does helping those in despair REQUIRE that they be moved to the U.S. for care? Or that they be fed and housed HERE rather than in their own countries? ... the concept of humanitarian parole has been abused so much in the past that we have every reason to be suspicious of its use now... Seems like there's always a reason why someone doesn't feel he should have to obey the rules."

itchy1 wrote, "If what the American people think means anything -- and it doesn't to Democrats -- I can't be in favor of this. Haiti needs recovery, not a brain drain. And the US needs skilled immigration from all over the world, not huge masses of undereducated people entering as they abandon one particular place. Neither country would benefit, so why pursue this route?"

We'll close with Intuition1010, whose views captured the tone of much of this comment string in writing, "If The USA wants to recover and survive. WE MUST close our borders. It's not that we do not have a heart....The fact is our heart has been too big in the past and now we are paying the consequences. Our own citizens cannot find work... It is time for the rest of the world to take the lead on Haiti... We as a country, are barely hanging on ourselves..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  January 25, 2010; 7:16 AM ET
 | Tags: Haiti, Immigration, Nativism, Racism  
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jenn3, neo-conservatives and liberals/leftists are two very different groups, whose political philosophies are often diametrically opposed.

Your point that Haitians need jobs (I would add jobs with long-term possibility, not just short-term jobs) is right on target, as is your mention of micro-financing. The U.S. and other nations, along with internations organizations like the U.N. and O.A.S., should work together to help Haitians develop sustainable economic operations. I have read suggestions--I can't remember where now--that Americans who are out of work could work as vocational educators in Haiti, teaching the skills of specific types of work.

The devastated forests and agricultural conditions in Haiti need restoration. This will, of necessity, take long-term, gradual growth, but it needs to start somewhere. Colleges with programs in agriculture and forestry might provide invaluable assistance.

Posted by: CherieOK | February 1, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

jenn3 - "Since our manufacturing base was sold out by the democrats in the '90s, and they're busy destroying what employment that remains, when they aren't giving what jobs remain to illegal aliens, and those who exploit our visa programs. Tell us how humane it is, to drop poor Haitians in the middle of that???"

While I agree that those who say that we can accept unlimited numbers of 3rd and 4th Worlders who have outbred or other wise destroyed their own nests "as the world's wealthiest nation with unlimited money and resources" are living in a fantasy world of the past - it is dumb as well in the extreme to blame our present wastrel debtor nation with no job creation status on one Party.

The seeds of our destruction go back to Carter and Reagan saying that globalization would create any number of great new US jobs in "exciting high tech" while "immutable laws of free trade" ensured rising prosperity and great jobs for all. Reagan honestly believed that an American worker making 20 times as much as a chinese worker could "outproduce, outcompete" 20 Chinese making computers, blue jeans, growing apples for applejuice....Reaganites also started the devestating conceit that a deregulated Wall Street and Banking community would more than make up for the loss of "old" industries in America with all the exciting new highly leveraged insurance products and equity paper and octupally bundled loan chits.
Fellow free traders and globalists Bush I and Bill Clinton wanted more of the same. And Bill Clinton's crew pumped up the and the idea that America could get rich simply building palace-style houses for one another that was "stocked with all the CHinese and Japanese stuff you could want. And staffed by your wonderful illegals acting as maids and servants.
Bush II added to the disaster started in Carter and made worse by Reagan and subsequent leaders.
More housing bubble, an even freer hand to the Bankers than what Clinton and Reagan rolled on...Bush was agreeable to whatever China demanded as long as they "helped fight evildoers"...and a huge Open Borders backer.

The end is that we have 20 million Mexican illegals, in no small part because free trade destroyed their manufacturing and agricultural jobs back home. So there is no "surplus of low skilled jobs no American wants to do" as Bush II put it...and the economy Bush II helped wreck has no place in it for 3-5 million surplus overbred Haitians to come here and make the situation even worse.

This is not a partisan thing. It is 30 years of compounding damage by leaders of BOTH Parties who served the Ruling Elites and DC Insiders - not the People of America.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | January 27, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Put GPS on the refugees or immigrants from Haiti, Like all on a VISA they should be tracke duntil citizen ship is gained. We put them on our kids incase of lost or kidnapped.
It's very sad what happened in Haiti, I wish people would see the benefit of wearing a GPS such as the one found on

for 100.00 bucks many would of been located by now and mostly likely survived. Please help spread the word and hopefully those traveling abroad missionaries and or students see the benefit of carrying of the these gps systems.
My prays are always with you

Posted by: AmberAlertGPS | January 26, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I went to locate my comment as it was a very sound one, but apparently the Post deleted it, because the truth was inconvenient to the neo-con paid off editorial board.

It was essentially this. A diaspora of Haitians to the US would not resolve Haitian poverty, in fact, it would mire Haitian emigres in deeper poverty. The US does not have jobs or housing for any more foreign poor. As things stand, the Washington Post, especially those sham journalists Amy and Peter, who have never written one word in aid of shining a light on the massive waves of homeless citizens who fill tent cities, Obamavilles in each of our fifty states, because they have lost their jobs, because they are discriminated against because they are American citizens, not the cheap foreign labor that the Post finds so much more lucrative. There is no growing support for Haitian immigration here, it's only on the part of the neo-cons, loony leftists who bribe the WashPo editorial board. Why not elaborate on the realities we in the US are facing, that the 170 million we've given to Haiti had to be borrowed from China, and we will owe lots more in interest for that aid. Since our manufacturing base was sold out by the democrats in the '90s, and they're busy destroying what employment that remains, when they aren't giving what jobs remain to illegal aliens, and those who exploit our visa programs. Tell us how humane it is, to drop poor Haitians in the middle of that???

Haiti's poor need jobs, in Haiti. If the world wishes to help them, they should help fund micro financing, so Haitians can set up small businesses. Such growth would be sustainable, and help support other small businesses in Haiti, leading to increased job creation. To keep Haiti's poor on the dole, is not sustainable, and it always slips into the pockets of the corrupt elites there. It's the same reason that a neo-con like Elliott Abrams posted feigned concern for Haitians, suggesting a disaspora to the US. Abram's doesn't believe US citizens have any rights, and he advocates (for his own profit) that our borders be erased, while at the same time, he supports Israel's Netanyahu erecting a huge border fence, because Netanyahu, and Abrams, do not want African illegal immigrants crossing into Israel and undermining Israel's cultural purity.. don't take my word for it, Netanyahu's exact words are quoted in an article on ynetnews.

We've imported hundreds of thousands of Somalis, and they aren't assimilating or employed. They live on welfare, and criminal activities, and also are recruited for terrorism. Haitians already in the US, in Florida for example, form criminal gangs and are increasing the instability of areas of the state.

Again, if you lack any compassion and concern for the untold millions of homeless and suffering American citizens, who happen to be black and brown as well as white, it illustrates how you simply don't give a damn about poor Haitians, and only seek to exploit them, as Elliot Abrams does.

Posted by: jenn3 | January 25, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

In this country, there is no such thing any longer as a "temporary" protected status visa. Note the article below, and then note too they are all still allowed here on visas that continue to be extended again and again and again. So stop the lies about their status being temporary.

January 06, 2005
"Federal authorities will announce today that 248,000 Salvadoran immigrants who hold special residency and work permits -- most of whom live in California -- will receive an 18-month extension to stay in the United States until September 2006.

The special visas, which would have expired in March, were created to assist El Salvador after that country was ravaged by powerful earthquakes in 2001. The temblors destroyed 300,000 homes and damaged roads, hospitals and other vital infrastructure."

Posted by: infuse | January 25, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Our generosity becomes their entitlement.

Posted by: hipshot | January 25, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo is trying to sell allowing even more Haitians to come here as humanitarian, when the opposite is true:

What the WaPo is promoting would make the situation for low-wage U.S. workers worse, and it would also make Haiti's situation worse by increasing their dependence on the U.S., braindraining their country, and reducing the already slim chances of reform.

What they're supporting is basically a comfortable version of colonialism: instead of invading another country, we can bring them here.

The WaPo and their string pullers should just learn how to mow their own damn lawns.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 25, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, maybe we'd have more room for immigrants if I moved out of this hateful country.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 25, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

In the past we have granted TPS to a whole bunch of people. To date, none of these people have ever returned home. What I want in the immigration debate is honesty and what I get in the immigration debate is dishonesty.

Posted by: jeffreed | January 25, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Instead of allowing increased immigration from Haiti, annex Haiti as an unincorporated territory - no taxes, no voting, no representation in Congress. Civil/military administration - the Obama administration would direct reconstruction much as the government in Washington did after the US Civil War. Once Haiti is stable and viable on their own, Congress could take up the issue of returning Haiti's independence. It could also stimulate new growth for American construction firms, manufacturing, and heavy industry and create new jobs in Haiti as well.

Posted by: SUMB44 | January 25, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The humanitarian case: they are desperate, they are without food and water, shelter, and clothing. This is the case for hundreds of thousands of them.

The practical case: 1)A) ECONOMICS - I suspect that the vast majority of them will be on the dole. Suppose 300,000 come to the US, and we provide provide $10,000/yr to support each one for a total of $3 billion/year for a lifetime. Make citizens of them and give them Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security - entitlements which are heading toward bankruptcy. Borrow from China and tax us to pay for this and a portion of that money goes to bureaucracy. How about leaving them in Haiti and borrowing from China and taxing us to pay them the $3 billion per year for e.g., 10 years which should enable them to put together as much of a habitat and economy as they had before the earthquake and would be less economically burdensome to us in the long run.

ECONOMICS B)We have a huge problem in this country employing unskilled labor at all much less at meaningful jobs. The proposed immigration would exacerbate the difficulty that our unskilled citizens have in finding jobs - this is insane.

POLITICS The unwillingness of Congress and in particular the Democratic Party to deal with illegal immigration infuriates a significant majority of citizens. The illegals are mostly unskilled although very willing to work and are good, decent people. However, they provide a huge source of unskilled labor that is competes with our unskilled citizens for limited numbers of jobs available. And, of humanitarian necessity those unemployed unskilled illegal immigrants must be provided with emergency medical care, food, and housing which is being done - e.g., food stamps, group housing, emergency rooms. As a result of this and the resentment that follows from it among the majority of citizens allowing a flood of Haitian refugees in this country now, importing yet more poverty is not something that our populace would as a whole support.

A SOLUTION: Provide long term large scale economic support to rebuild habitat, infrastructure and economy, e.g., for ten or fifteen years. Then leave. We'll have to borrow many billions to do it but it will be much less costly than borrowing even more billions to bring them here, have them compete with our unskilled unemployed citizens and put them on all of our unfunded entitlements.

Posted by: horkwurst | January 25, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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