Draw strength from predecessors says Clarke

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke told a diverse audience at the Douglaston Manor in Queens, that even though Caribbean nationals have achieved greatness in all the sectors in America, this group of people are still confronted with forces of rejection by the same people who denied that President Barack Obama was American, and now want to deny “our rights to live in the United States of America.”

“While addressing a Caribbean American Heritage Awards event, recently, Congresswoman Clarke said, “we are being attacked in the immigration community, and learned that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has created an office specifically to focus on crimes committed by immigrants, when immigrants are much more law-abiding than native-born Americans,” said Congresswoman Clarke while defending the rights of Haitians to stay in the United States.

She added that almost every American descends from immigrants, people who came here from some other nation, in recent decades, from places in the Caribbean, Africa, and Central and South America.

“These immigrants are our sisters and brothers, who have been stigmatized,” she said. “We have to reject that forcefully, any of these attempts to divide us as people, as a nation, as American, must be rejected. When this administration attacks Haitian nationals living in the United States with phony investigations about criminal activities, we have to raise our voices and speak out in opposition. A bully always tries to exploit perceived weakness.”

“For those people who lack immigration status or are here without a visa, a bully see vulnerability, but when we in the community stand up, the bully has to sit down. “In this time of challenge and danger, we have to stand up with each other and draw strength from the examples of those who have come before us who endured unspeakable cruelty, and from our parents and grandparents who fought for our freedom here and abroad, and are continuing to fight in the armed forces, and on the streets of New York City.”

“The need for leadership in the current situation is crystal clear, and I am sure you will join me in this effort,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who in a recent statement had criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who spent four hours in Haiti, and despite calls from more than two dozen humanitarian organizations for Secretary Kelly to visit resettlement sites and areas affected directly by the earthquake, Hurricane Matthew, and the cholera epidemic, reports show that he spent the entirety of his brief trip in the National Palace.

“This comes across as a cynical attempt to prove the uncertainty he has created about the fate of the Haitian people whom he has threatened with a decision to offer a six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status.”

“I sincerely doubt that such a cursory trip will help Secretary Kelly with the type of substantive knowledge required to truly comprehend the magnitude of conditions on the ground and / or properly inform his decision-making on what is truly in the best interest of this nation and nationals that are currently provided a full measure of Temporary Protected Status, beyond the six months he has ordered.”

“Temporary Protected Status has literally been a lifeline for the people of Haiti who continue to suffer from a much compromised infrastructure, are unable to provide adequate food for their people and healthcare services needed to abate a raging cholera epidemic. I believe that a more comprehensive and substantive assessment of conditions on the ground would be the most humane approach to determining how his decision to lift protection from the close to 50,000 nationals who are such a significant lifeline for those in Haiti who continue to live in such distress would be truly affected by his decision.”

“I invite Secretary Kelly to travel with me and other members of Congress to spend several days in Haiti touring resettlement locations and learning from Haitian advocates about why this extension is so vital,” said Clarke.

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