What's up Little Haiti

A judge whose parents are Haitian became an obstacle for the President of the United States 

According to New York Times:

A federal judge, of Haitian decent, has dealt another blow to President Trump’s executive order barring some foreigners from coming into the United States, in a ruling that added to the confusion over the legality of the immigration measure.

Birotte was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1966 to Haitian immigrants. Birotte graduated from Tufts University with a degree in psychology and received his J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Birotte was appointed to the United States Attorney's office by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in February 2010. On April 3, 2014, President Obama nominated Birotte to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  On July 22, 2014 the Senate voted 100-0 to confirm Birotte. He received his federal judicial commission on August 8, 2014, and was sworn in the same day. Birotte has a wife and three children.

Using more sweeping language than previous court rulings, Judge André Birotte Jr. of United States District Court here issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday evening requiring the government to allow in people with valid immigrant visas from the seven majority-Muslim countries Mr. Trump sought to block.

The judge’s order affects only people who are seeking to live in the United States permanently and are taking the first steps to becoming a legal resident. This does not include tourists or students trying to enter the country.

The order came in response to a complaint filed on behalf of 28 people from Yemen — United States citizens and their family members who had remained in Yemen but later received immigrant visas. The visa holders have been stuck in an airport in Djibouti since President Trump issued his executive order last month, according to the complaint.

Like in other rulings in New York and Boston, Judge Birotte wrote that the plaintiffs would likely succeed in court on the merits and that they would also “likely suffer irreparable harm” without an injunction. Yemen is currently embroiled in a civil war with civilians in danger. But unlike some other cases, Judge Birotte’s ruling seemed to apply throughout the country, not just to Los Angeles International Airport. And while other orders had blocked the deportation of travelers, Judge Birotte explicitly wrote that the government could not detain them or block their entry into the country.

The ruling could affect hundreds of people who are in their home countries or stuck in airports in other countries, hoping that they would somehow be permitted to travel to the United States.

After Daring Voyage to U.S., Haitians' Dreams End in Deportation

PORT-AU-PRINCE — John Stevens Val borrowed ,000 from friends and family and trekked through 10 countries to make his way to the United States, where he hoped life would be better than in Haiti, his impoverished homeland.

But in the end he landed in a U.S. immigration detention center and was deported back to Haiti, deep in debt and struggling to integrate, like so many other Haitians.

Val, 28, left home after a devastating 2010 earthquake that wrecked the economy of the Caribbean nation, the poorest in the Western hemisphere. He worked in Brazil at a supermarket for about two years until a crash in Latin America's biggest economy led him to pack his bags again.

After gathering the cash, he made his way via, plane, boat, three days of walking through forests, and a dozen buses before reaching Arizona.

For seven years after the quake, U.S. policy protected Haitians from deportation unless they were convicted of a serious crime or posed a national security threat. Encouraged by the policy, between October 2015 and December 2016, more than 13,500 Haitians like Val made the perilous trip, up from just a few hundred in the previous year.

In September, in response to the surge in Haitian immigrants, the United States restarted deportation flights for newly arrived Haitians who do not have a case for seeking asylum.

More Haitians arrived late last year, with more than 7,000 crossing the border between October and December alone, creating a backlog that will take months for the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to clear.

For Val, who was still en route through South America when the shift occurred, the new policy came as a huge shock.

"You lose all of your money and now you do not even succeed," said Val, sitting in the library of non-profit organization, the Jesuit Service for Migrants. Back in a country with 40 percent unemployment, Val was worried.

"It's not easy to live in Haiti. It's complicated. There is no aid; there is no organization that can help us in one way or the other. We're here. We live poorly," Val said.

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in the U.S. detention centers.

“They spent a lot of money. It's like a broken dream. They left thinking they would stay 20, 30, 40 years or never return,” said Adelson Lorgeat, the technical and research director for Haiti’s National Office of Migration. “They consider it to be a dishonor, a defeat.”

Lorgeat advises deportees at Port-au-Prince airport but said the office did not have funds to provide additional support.

In November, of some 40,000 people in immigration detention, more than 4,400 were Haitians, according to the then U.S. secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson.

Between October 2016 and Jan. 16, 2017, 1,513 Haitians were deported, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said. As of Jan. 16, 4,060 were in U.S. detention, an indication more are crossing from Mexico, where even more are massed on the border.

Val said he had not ruled out leaving Haiti once more for different shores, if he had the money.

“If I don’t have any opportunities, I’ll leave,” he said.


Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Leslie Adler)

U.N. Considering Removing Military Peacekeepers From Haiti: Official

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The United Nations is considering removing military personnel from its peacekeeping mission in Haiti, a U.N. official said on Thursday, indicating a possible scaling back of one of the body's longest-running and widely-criticized missions.

The U.N. mission in Haiti, often locally called by its French acronym MINUSTAH, has been in the country since 2004, when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

It is the only U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Americas.

Haiti suffered a two-year political crisis until the recent election and inauguration of President Jovenel Moise. It has suffered major natural disasters, including an earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew last year. But the impoverished country has not had an armed conflict in years.

Herve Ladsous, a U.N. deputy secretary-general, said the institution was encouraged by the recent successful completion of the elections, the inauguration of the president, and the development and building up of the police force.

"The security situation throughout the country cannot be compared with that of 10 years ago," Ladsous said.

"But I say to all who would be tempted to take advantage of this temporary period to return to illegality, commit crimes, violations of human rights, I say no, we will not accept that."

He said there would be a U.N. assessment mission to determine a "reconfiguration" of MINUSTAH, although he cautioned that the picture was not unequivocally rosy.

"If the military component is erased ... there is still a lot of work left to do on the police, on the law ... on human rights, on the status of women," Ladsous told journalists.

The mission has been criticized for sexual abuse allegations and its role in Haiti's cholera epidemic, which was started by U.N. peacekeepers after the earthquake.

"Re-evaluation is especially appropriate in light of MINUSTAH's slow, expensive and limited progress in its primary mission," said Brian Concannon, the head of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a charity that has worked with cholera victims.

Concannon cited the introduction of cholera and sexual exploitation as areas of concern.

Last October, the U.N. Security Council, which approves the mandates of the various peacekeeping missions, renewed MINUSTAH for six months rather than the usual year, a signal to observers of possible changes for the mission.

The secretary-general will weigh in on any change by March 15, and the Security Council is expected to make its decision in April.

(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Jonathan Oatis)

FEBRUARY 11, 2017 5:05 PM

Jovenel Moïse, Haiti’s new president, must break with nation’s corrupt past

Campaign poster for Jovenel Moïse, who was inaugurated Haiti’s president on Feb. 7.



Haiti has a new president, democratically elected, poised to meet the gargantuan challenges the nation presents.

So why don’t we feel more optimistic?

For one thing, the people of Haiti themselves don’t seem to be a celebratory mood. As reported by Herald writer Jacqueline Charles, President Jovenel Moïse, inaugurated last week, was elected with the support of less than 10 percent of the Haiti’s 6.1 million registered voters, an election with one of the lowest turnouts ever there.

And Moïse’s victory was confirmed 15 months after voting took place. Fraud allegations stood in the way of declaring a new president and moving forward.

Worse, Moïse comes into office with the cloud of a money-laundering probe hovering over his head. That’s three strikes right there.

But there’s more: Moïse was backed, handpicked, really, by former President Michel Martelly, himself elected with great hope and optimism in 2011, only to end his tenure, for all intents and purposes, an autocrat. Whether Moïse will be a clear-eyed independent leader or a puppet of the past remains to be seen.

Haiti desperately needs the former if it is to transcend the plagues that have kept it and its citizens mired in poverty, unable to ably confront natural disasters or political ones.

Moïse ran as an outsider, an entrepreneur, not a politician. (Sound vaguely familiar?) He was a little-known banana farmer and auto-parts dealer before ascending to the presidency.

Now, he has the almost impossible task of making all the right moves to bring about political stability, a measure of economic prosperity and reliable healthcare and schools. These are the basic elements of a decent quality of life that have eluded Haitians time and again, no matter who was in office.

Whether Moïse can drain Haiti’s swamp of political corruption will depend upon the choices he makes. Already, some are worrisome.

Until January, former coup leader and senator-elect Guy Philippe was living comfortably in Haiti, eluding for a decade U.S. authorities seeking to prosecute him on drug-trafficking charges. During the past year, Moïse campaigned openly with Philippe, a disturbing relationship that the candidate didn’t hesitate to flaunt.

Haitian authorities arrested Philippe in Petionville last month, and he was brought to Miami, where he pleaded not guilty to drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges in federal court.

This is not the way to drain Haiti’s swamp.

The bottom line is, Moïse has to deliver. The new president has to ensure that his talk of “law and order” means safety and security for Haitians, not a politicized police force that shuts down protests and terrorizes political foes. This is an imperative because U.N. peacekeepers are getting ready to leave. In the 1990s, when peacekeepers pulled out of the country, the police force simply ran amok.

Moïse must show that justice will be fair and impartial, that his administration will shun, and even root out, the political corruption that has hobbled progress except for a cunning few. He must push laws that facilitate business development and investment.

Haitians’ expectations are extremely low, and who can blame them for that? Democracy has not worked for them, but the alternative is worse. The new president should assure Haitians that they have every reason to be optimistic, and then prove it.


This week, Justin Viard, the General Consul of Haiti in Montreal, accompanied with representatives of the business and tourism sector as well as with the Communication and Cultural sector welcomed Naud Noël, at the consulate. Noël is a Haitian entrepreneur who works in the food industry (snacks, bakery, deli and pastries). He also owns the restaurant "Andréamise" which serves approximately 500 Haitian dishes a day, at a reasonable price, in the north of Montreal.

It should be reminded that Noël was a part of an economic mission which went to Haiti, in June, 2014. This allowed him to export to Florida and Montreal containers of fruits and vegetables produced in Haiti through partnerships with associations of farmers and local partners.

At the present time, initiatives are underway to open a branch of the restaurant "Andréamise" in the Dpartment of Artibonite. Efforts are also underway for larger-scale export on the international market of fruits and vegetables cultivated in Haiti. Naud Noël is also planning for a conversion factory in Gonaïves.

The Consul general of Haiti in Montreal applauded Noël for his success and encouraged him for his investment projects in Haiti.