81-year old Joseph N. Dantica came to the United States as an asylum seeker, but he found only suffering and the peace of death. He arrived in Miami on October 29th, was held overnight in Miami International Airport, then was placed in detention at Krome North. He was isolated from his family, friends and legal help. He was pronounced dead on November 3rd 2004.
After facing what the :: National Coalition for Haitian Rights calls "Immigration bureaucracy that from the top down has been hostile to Haitians' claims of fear of persecution," Joseph Dantica died. He had been a frequent visitor to the US since the 1970's, and maintained a close relationship with his famous niece, the celebrated Haitian-American writer :: Edwidge Danticat.
Jocelyn McCalla, the Executive Director of the NCHR says, "We call on the Justice Department to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Dantica...we urge a review and overhaul of the policy that singles out Haitian refugees and immigrants for discriminatory treatment. Cuban asylum-seekers can walk away happily after applying for asylum whereas Haitians are held behind bars. For the fifth time since 1999, the US government has granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Nicaraguans and Hondurans because of the earthquake damage in their countries since then. Yet it has repeatedly denied TPS to Haitians whose country undoubtedly meets the conditions for such considerations: ongoing armed conflict and environmental disaster. Haitian asylum-seekers deserve to be treated fairly and equitably. Non-immigrant Haitians in the US should be granted TPS."
:: Amnesty International's Page About Joseph Dantica urges people to call for an investigation into the circumstances of Rev. Dantica's death, and ask for clarification of the Department of Homeland Security's policy regarding release of asylum seekers with no criminal background.
This article was published first @ :: indybay.org