Meeting to ‘Chart a Path Forward’ for Haitians

Members of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) prior to the start of this year’s National Retreat, which will focus on a strategic agenda for Haitians across the United States. (Photo courtesy of Assembly memberRodneyse Bichotte via Caribbean Life)

Assembly members Rodneyse Bichotte (Brooklyn) and Clyde Vanel (Queens) and Long Island Council member Valerie M. Cartright (Brookhaven) joined fellow Haitian-American lawmakers at the two-day long National Retreat in North Miami, Florida, organized by the New Jersey-based National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON). The legislators discussed “strategic planning and various legislative issues, including a call to action,” following President Trump’s “shithole countries” comment and immigration decisions, writes Nelson A. King in Caribbean Life.

Bichotte, the first Assembly member of Haitian descent elected from New York City, said to Caribbean Life:

“With the termination of H2A / H2B visas and the recent expiration of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 50,000 Haitians, our community has been rocked to its core,” added the representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “I represent one of the largest concentrations of Haitians in the United States. “I am happy to come together with my colleagues in NHAEON this weekend to chart a path forward for Haitians in this country.

She called on the Trump administration to “reverse course” and enact immigration policies that are “humane and just” as his policies are “currently having a devastating impact on our community.”

Cartright, meanwhile, said the meeting “comes at a critical time in the history of America.”

“However, Haitians now find themselves as the subject of hateful political rhetoric and unsupported policy decisions here in the US,” she said. “There is no better time to come together with members of NHAEON in an effort to strengthen the protection of the human rights of Haitian people and shape immigration policies that are in the spirit of our long-standing policy of providing humanitarian assistance to those in need.”

For more remarks from the NHAEON gathering, including one legislator’s call to “look at the bright side,” go to Caribbean Life.

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