Bush responds to calls to free Haitian refugees... by tightening immigration laws
aka Bush treating Haitian refugees like dirt, part 6
So there goes any hope that Bush would stop discriminating against Haitian refugees. From today's NYTimes ("Hope for Speedy Release of Haitian Refugees Fades"):
Advocates for more than 200 Haitian refugees taken into custody in October had expected that immigration rules keeping them in indefinite detention would be eased after President Bush and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, said they should be treated no differently than any other asylum seekers, except Cubans. But since then, the Bush administration has instead tightened the immigration rules and broadened their scope, making it virtually impossible for the Haitians to be released soon.In other words, Bush's idea of ending discrimination is treating all refugees except Cubans really, really badly by locking them up as if fleeing persecution were a crime. (But as "most people who flee by sea come from Haiti or Cuba," the policy still applies disproportionately to Haitians.) Which is apparently his definition of "fairly and humanely." Or as an unidentified Justice Department Official puts it:
Under a Bush administration policy adopted a year ago, Haitian refugees who reach the United States are held in indefinite detention until they are deported or, less frequently, granted asylum. Critics have called the policy discriminatory because, until now, it has applied exclusively to Haitians.
... . Last month, President Bush said, "Haitians and everybody else ought to be treated the same way, and we're in the process of making sure that happens." The advocates and lawmakers interpreted the remarks to mean the Haitians would soon be released and, as with all other migrants, allowed to remain in the community pending the outcome of their cases. Instead, the Justice Department has since announced that the Immigration and Naturalization Service will apply the detention policy to all non-Cubans who arrive in the United States illegally by sea and will expedite the deportation process for such refugees.
... ."[The new policy] treats all people seeking to come to America illegally by sea the same," said the spokesman, Scott McClellan, the deputy White House press secretary. "The president believes Haitians ought to be treated fairly and humanely."
"There is a lot of discussion I have seen about how Haitians are not treated as well as Cubans. I would like to reword that: We treat everybody not as well as Cubans. That is because Congress has created a statutory difference for Cubans."This is apparently because Cuban refugees face political persecution, while Haitian refugees merely face political persecution and slow death by starvation.