American Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a wide range of promises to the Haitian community, during his visit to the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami this past Friday.
Appointing Haitian-american ambassadors to Haiti and being their "greatest champion" if they give him their votes and help put him as president of the United States, were among the promises, which could be qualified as the greatest' any american presidential candidate has ever made to the Haitian-American community in the history of the United States.
Donald Trump has not specified how he would be Haitians’ greatest champion however.
Immigration is the number one concern for Haitian families. There are some 830.000 illegal Haitian immigrants living in the United States. A number that is growing as thousands of Haitians, previously admitted into Brazil following the catastrophic earthquake in 2010, are now, on foot, fleeing ongoing economic and political crisis in the South American giant, flooding the border of the United States via Mexico; the same border that Donald Trump since the early days of his presidential campaign, till now, has promised to build a wall along to prevent the flow of illegals coming into the US. The recent deaths of hundreds of Haitians during their unprecedented transcontinental voyage have made headlines.
As president of the United States, will Donald Trump give undocumented Haitians living in the US papers to make them legal? How about the ones coming in from Brazil and Haiti illegally, will Donald Trump grant them a special status that would allow them to stay and work in the United States freely?
Will he encourage american businesses to invest in Haiti?
The billionaire businessman Donald Trump is in the middle of a tough presidential race with former US Secretary of States Hillary Clinton; well known throughout Haiti and also widely unpopular among Haitians for the policies that she adopted towards the country as secretary of state, following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince; as well as the policies that her husband, Bill Clinton, implemented towards Haiti during his presidency in the 90s’.
So Donald Trump is naturally using to his advantage the unpopularity of his rival among the large Haitian-American community, residing mostly in the crucial electoral state of Florida; some 500.000.
But Haitians need to be very careful not to become a scapegoat, or pawn in the political manoeuvres of Donald Trump, by believing in unclear promises or voting out of anger or dislike of Hillary Clinton, and contribute to a situation that could potentially be worse for them and their families. Donald Trump has made the deportation of illegal immigrants the cornerstone of his presidential campaign, and is very likely to deport millions of undocumented, should he become president of the United States.
What is the position of Hillary Clinton on Haiti?
The foreign policy experience of a potential United States president should also include the ability to coordinate relief and reconstruction efforts in the wake of a natural disaster and, provide better economic opportunities for poorer countries, especially close and peaceful neighbors. And there isn't a better case than Haiti; America's oldest sister-republic. Yes, Haiti and the US are the oldest independent countries in the americas, but they contrast in so many ways despite their numerous historical ties. Economically, politically, culturally etc..
In January 2010, Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake, some 250.000 people lost their lives, an equal number of injured and about 1.5 millions were made homeless. Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of States, and Bill Clinton as the UN special envoy to Haiti and chair of Haiti interim reconstruction board were at the helm of billions of dollars of aid and pledged money.
Haiti's current situation 6 years following the earthquake is a damning testimony of failure of the duo's continuous involvement in the Caribbean country, since they honeymooned there.
Hillary Clinton has largely avoided talking about her records in Haiti. Her efforts of "building back better" and "Haiti is open for business" have not come into fruition. The revelation from her published emails, showing how here state department worked hand-in-hand with US embassy and Haitian powerful businessmen to undermined an election also doesn't sit well with Haitians who viewed this interference as the cause of Haiti's current political crisis.
As Donald Trump continues to gain momentum among african-americans in Florida, as have shown recent polls, following his visits to Little Haiti in Miami among other places, Hillary Clinton may have a good reason to address the large Haitian community. Some are suggesting that she goes to one of the numerous Haitian churches in Brooklyn. -New York is home to some 200.000 Haitians-, but that remains highly unlikely.
Bill Clinton received many criticism for his administration policies that kept thousands of illegal Haitian immigrants caught at sea, at the Guantanamo detention centers instead of allowing them entry like their Cuban counterparts. A promise of Hillary Clinton to soften position on Haitian immigrants could win her some votes.
In : Migration