Sec. of State Hillary Clinton appears to be putting out the perfect signal to try to prevent thousands of Haitians from risking their lives in leaky boats to enter the U.S. illegally.
Ordinary and regular immigration laws will apply going forward, which means we are not going to be accepting into the US Haitians who are attempting to make it to our shores.
This kind of message is especially important after the Obama Administration offered TPS (Temporary Protected Status) to hundreds of thousands of Haitians who already are in the U.S. illegally. Otherwise, Haitians back in their own earthquake-ravaged country could easily assume that they also could get work permits and legal status if they could just manage to illegally enter the U.S.
Flotillas of Haitian boat people in the past have drowned thousands of Haitians. It is of utmost humanitarian concern to discourage any Haitian from taking to a boat. Sec. Clinton couldn't have made it clearer about what will happen to any boat people:
They will be interdicted, they will be repatriated.
-- Sec. of State Hillary Clinton
Sec. Clinton stressed one of the core humanitarian principles of NumbersUSA that the 5 billion people living in impoverished countries must be helped to live securely and bloom where they were planted -- in their own countries. No resettlement program to wealthy countries could ever help more than a small fraction of the populations of these countries, so there is no use in expending money and energy into foreign resettlement that could be much better put to use in better settling people in their own countries.
To her credit, Clinton said the place for resettlement of Haitians is within their own country, stressing U.S. determination to help Haitians fleeing their capital for relatively safer areas in the countryside.
We also know that so many people are leaving Port-au-Prince into the surrounding countryside. We're trying to get more aid out there, more shelter, food, medicine, certainly water. People feel safer in the countryside and we want to support them.
-- Sec. of State Hillary Clinton
Clinton's message to the Haitian people was most welcome after rumors early this week from inside the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that contingency plans were underway for diverting boat people to Gitmo in Cuba to be processed for entry into the U.S. We don't know if our inside sources were just badly interpreting what they were hearing or if this is a case of pragmatic heads winning out in an internal debate.
The issuance of 18-month work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal Haitians is putting a bigger strain on the unemployment crisis where they are congregated.
The Florida legislature's chief economist Amy Baker warned that the illegal Haitians who do not already hold a job will find it very difficult to find one now in a state economy with an 11.5% unemployment rate, a 35-year high. Obviously, every illegal Haitian who finds a job will be keeping an American worker unemployed.
I have been quoted fairly widely in the media as saying that the Obama Administration made the right decision to suspend all deportation of illegal aliens back to Haiti at this time. It would make no sense to send anybody into that chaos and anarchy unless they were part of a rescue and aid effort.
However, I have not been pleased in the granting of the TPS status. My main objection is that Pres. Clinton and Pres. Bush -- and now Pres. Obama -- have repeatedly shown that they lack the will to ever end Temporary Protected Status. Once the status is given, it gets renewed over and over again, long after the original reason for it has passed. Unless we get a different kind of President than the last three, the TPS issuance this week is a de facto amnesty for the illegal aliens who will be allowed to live and work here the rest of their lives.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Sat, Jan 23rd 2010 @ 8:23am EST