By Vania Andre
On the eve of the eighth anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters to hit Haiti, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his stance against black and brown immigrants migrating to the United States.
During a meeting Thursday evening at the White House to discuss immigration policies, Trump said he did not want people from “shithole” countries coming to the US and went even further by signaling out Haiti, asking why Haitians are in the US, and to “take them out.”
Trump’s rhetoric and attack on the Haitian community, black and brown immigrants as a whole, is rife with irony and hypocrisy. During the campaign, Trump lobbied the Haitian community, promising to be a great white hope of sorts against “crooked Hillary,” who many believe robbed Haiti of millions of dollars in the aftermath of the earthquake. With a great error of judgment, a considerable number of people in the Haitian community threw their support behind a man who is a proven pathological liar, narcissist, and a manipulator of emotions. And what did the Haitian community receive for their allegiance to him? An all-out assault on their very existence by the man they helped elect as leader of the US.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians has been rescinded under his leadership. Ignorant and false allegations that Haitians are one of the main contributors of AIDS has resurfaced under his leadership—the words came from his mouth. He’s questioned Haitians’ place in the US and categorized their native country as a “shithole.”
These “shithole” countries, however, were good enough to be pillaged and raped of their resources—once under the era of colonialism and still again today under the guise of diplomacy and imperialism. The US and Western countries have profited from the labor and natural resources of these “shithole” countries, and yet, for Trump, the presence of people from these countries is to be looked down upon with scorn.
As a world leader, his lack of emotional intelligence and political insensitivity is appalling.
His comments are not only unfortunate and reprehensible on a moral level, but also incredibly bothersome because of the position he holds. His ignorant thoughts are reflective of the immigration policies that we see and will continue to see under this regime.
Haitians have fought hard to dispel negative stereotypes and perceptions of their people and have come a long way from the negativity that was associated with being Haitian. It’s not by accident that Haitians have managed to make tremendous leaps socially and economically within one generation of migrating to the US.
“Children of Haitian immigrants have made significant educational advances, graduating from college and earning advanced degrees at rates above the U.S. population,” the Migration Policy Institute said in a 2014 report examining the Haitian Diaspora in Haiti. There are swaths of professional Haitian Americans in the medical, legal, political fields and more, whose parents were domestic workers, cab drivers and factory workers.
Decades ago, Haitians were seen as a politically voiceless population. Now, a number of elected officials in the city, state, and federal government across the US are of Haitian descent. My hope is for these officials to use their power to fight against comments like the one the president made; to use their positions to advocate for an inclusive immigration policy that doesn’t ostracize black and brown immigrants.