NO ONE WINS WHEN PUBLIC POLICY ON IMMIGRATION IS BASED ON HOW TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS BY EXPLOITING IMMIGRANT LABOR.
If we had the same thriving first world economy as we had before Reagan/Clinton neo-liberalism there would be plenty of jobs for both domestic and immigrant workers. It is the deliberate stagnation of the US economy by global corporations and with that the high unemployment of US workers that makes it the wrong time to encourage immigrant migration to the US. When you have policy that brings immigrants to high-skilled jobs at the same time the mechanisms of policy are moving American workers away from education and hiring into these high-skilled jobs----that is bad policy for all concerned. Below you see the state of the state for both low-income and high-income immigrant workers and it is not good. So, we do not want to bash immigrants for simply trying to find work----we want to make sure labor laws protect these workers as we reverse this hold global corporations have on the US economy to keep it stagnant. As the article below states----labor abuses are in plain sight and it is because public justice and Rule of Law for American citizens is being dismantled. When immigrant labor is abused----it comes around to domestic labor.
This is where national labor unions are failing in their support of neo-liberal candidates in all elections. Union leaders are pretending to support immigrants by supporting this raging market-based Immigration Bill and Trans Pacific Trade Pact----all the while working to elect the neo-liberals and neo-cons allowing the abuse to occur.
As we work to reverse the damage of neo-liberalism/neo-con----please do not blame the immigrants for public policy that politicians we elect to office promote. Gang warfare between groups of color are just what neo-liberals want----look overseas at the middle-east to see neo-liberal policies making war zones of nations and think about cities like Chicago and its gang warfare and you see the mentality of weakening the working class with poverty and scarce resources. This is what is happening in Baltimore today with Johns Hopkins promoting the same developing world policies it does overseas.
IF POLITICIANS WELCOME IMMIGRANTS TO THE STATE AND THEN TURN THEIR HEADS TO ABUSE----THEY DO NOT SUPPORT IMMIGRANTS OR DOMESTIC LABOR.
Maryland pols are all neo-liberal and neo-con so these are the conditions growing. If your labor and justice organizations are supporting neo-liberals----get rid of these leaders----they are working for global corporations.
CHANGE THE POLITICIANS AND PROTECT ALL WORKERS.
Human Rights Abuse In Plain Sight: Migrant Workers in the U.S.
By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 11:57am (Originally posted on Huffington Post.)
Today is International Migrants Day, marking the anniversary of the passage of a United Nations resolution adopting the landmark International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
As we mark this day as an occasion when we affirm the human rights that are entitled to all migrants, a working-class community with a large population of migrant workers is suffering at the hands of the government in Puerto Rico. Ordered to relocate after the land on which they have been living was declared a flood zone, the 200 families and 300 children of the Villas del Sol community in the town of Toa Baja – many of whom are Dominican migrants – are now facing forced evictions. Those eviction efforts turned violent this summer when police pepper-sprayed and beat residents – including a pregnant woman and her 6-year-old son – who peacefully protested the construction of barricades around their community. Water and electricity were shut off in August.
Recently, following a local and international outcry, the government partially restored water services through three taps, but only through the holiday season, which in Puerto Rico ends on January 18. Electricity continues to be denied, and the dire situation has compromised sanitation and fueled fears of disease outbreaks. At least one infant has contracted the H1N1 virus and others have been hospitalized, and there are further fears of an outbreak of Dengue fever.
Though it may seem shocking that something like this could happen in a U.S. territory, the migrant residents of Villas del Sol represent a part of the population that is extremely vulnerable to human rights violations and abuse. Migrants frequently face exploitation and discrimination by their employers and public officials, and can be denied basic services like health care and, as seen in Villas del Sol, housing.
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families guarantees migrant workers and their families fundamental human rights, including:
- freedom from discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion or any other status, in all aspects of work, including in hiring, conditions of work, and promotion, and in access to housing, health care and basic services;
- equality before the law regardless of a migrant's legal status;
- freedom from arbitrary expulsion from their country of employment; and
- protection from violence, physical injury, threats and intimidation by public officials or by private individuals, groups or institutions.
Migrant workers pay the price when the U.S. lags in international standards. For example, under the U.S. guestworker program, foreign guestworkers (or temporary workers) are left at the mercy of employers who can exploit, isolate and abuse them. Guestworkers often arrive to the U.S. deep in debt after paying exorbitant amounts of money to recruiters who promise them job opportunities. With inadequate governmental oversight of labor abuses in the guestworker program, it is only after they arrive in the United States that these workers discover that they have no way to escape an abusive situation because, under the terms of the guestworker program, they are unable to lawfully transfer their visas from one employer to another.
Another group of very vulnerable migrant workers are domestic and agricultural workers, who are excluded from federal legislation that provides basic protections like the right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, freedom of association, and health and safety guarantees while at work. These exemptions can be traced back to New Deal legislation passed in the 1930s, when the growers' lobby and other moneyed interests pressured Southern senators to exempt the then largely African-American worker populations of farm workers and domestic workers from these basic workplace protections. Because of this racially biased “compromise,” workers in these professions today – who largely include migrants from Central/South America, South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean – continue to be unprotected.
A third group of migrant workers who face grave and systemic human rights violations are the 9 to12 million workers without authorization or documentation. Despite the fact that the most dangerous and poorly paid jobs in the United States are often filled by undocumented workers, the U.S. government has increasingly limited the protections available to this group of people, leaving them vulnerable to workplace discrimination and abuse. A particularly damaging precedent was set by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case of Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc vs. NLRB, which found that an undocumented worker who was unlawfully fired for engaging in union organizing activities was not entitled to the back-pay that another “documented” worker would receive. The case has had a devastating impact on undocumented workers as a whole, as basic employment and labor protections under state laws have either been eliminated or severely limited in some states. These policies are in violation of international law, which requires the U.S. to apply its workplace protections equally and without discrimination based on immigration status.
These human rights abuses are happening in plain sight and repercussions extend far beyond the workplace, as migrants in the U.S. who are unable to earn a decent living are often denied adequate housing, health care and other basic needs. Variations of the dire situation faced by the community of Villas del Sol play out on a smaller level every day as families across the U.S., trapped by unfair labor laws, try to make a living with few governmental safeguards and few options for help.
International Migrants Day offers us an opportunity to pause and reflect on what kind of society we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. Will we remain a country which has groups of our population who toil in obscurity, unable to assert fundamental rights and freedoms? Or, do we have the courage and conviction to try and build the “beloved community” described by Dr. Martin Luther King, which recognizes the collective humanity of all human beings, irrespective of immigration status, race, gender, religion or national origin? To insure that our future is brighter than our past, we must affirm the fundamental dignity of all people.
As I showed earlier the propaganda of needing high-skilled immigrants is only used to bring people to work for less and with no rights as citizens and therefor these immigrants are often left in worse shape than if they had stayed in their own countries. They are told things will work better than they do. This high-skilled immigrant policy is what Immigration reform is about----undermining US high-skilled labor and lowering US labor standards. The low-skilled immigration policy is simply to bring immigrants to the US to work as they did in their own country.
THERE IS NO WIN FOR IMMIGRANTS IN THESE POLICIES WITHOUT THE PROTECTION OF LABOR RIGHTS WHICH WOULD NEGATE THE NEED THESE CORPORATE POLS HAVE IN BRINGING IMMIGRANTS.
With unemployment at 36% and US STEM grads making a large percentage of these unemployed----we need policy that protects US labor and the rights of immigrants that do come to the US.
High skilled immigrants not the best and brightest—Study Sat, 03/16/2013 - 11:50 by Harleen Kaur
As per the study undertaken by the University of California-Davis, foreigners coming to the US on high-skilled work visas are not, in any way, better than Americans.
High-skilled immigrants not better than Americans--The findings of the recent study by University of California come at a time when there is strong pressure on Congress to ease rules for US high-skilled immigration.
The arguments in favor of simplifying US high-skilled immigration rules maintain that Congress needs to curtail down requirements for high-skilled immigrants coming to the US. However, the recent study findings seem to contradict such a perception.
Foreign-born high skilled workers are not better or brighter, in any way, than American workers, findings of recent study seem to indicate.
According to the lead author of the study, Norman Matloff, many tech leaders are in favor of luring foreign high-skilled workers to come to the US by offering them high and lucrative pay packages. Matloff is of the opinion that such immigrant workers(those coming to the US as foreign students) do not possess any higher talent than the native Americans in terms of dissertation awards, academic program quality or salary, the author reiterates.
Serious flaws in US H-1B visa program—A professor of computer science at the University of California, Matloff says the US H-1B visa program is suffering from serious loopholes. And it is such loopholes that enable firms to help get US visas for foreign-born college graduates wanting to come to the US for lesser salary than those received by American STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers.
In terms of talents and qualifications, the foreign-born workers are below their American counterparts (Americans with same education level and in the same age group).
Moreover, such foreign workers fail to supplement the US workforce not having STEM skills because international computer science students having US visas made applications for lesser patents, attended less selective colleges and were, as a result, had a lower possibility of working in research and development positions in the US, the study by Matloff shows.
The US H-1B visa program is meant to allow non-citizens to come and work in the US on temporary US visas. Every year, a large number of such foreign workers get to the US to work here for a temporary and a specified period of time.
Here is the source of the market-based Immigration Bill passed by the Senate and which Obama is now trying to implement through Executive Order. Keep in mind these policies are Republican policies that only look at how to maximize profits for global corporations----it has nothing to do with labor and justice. Neo-liberals work for Wall Street-----they are not Democrats so do not get mad at the Democratic Party because less than 20% of corporate pols are controlling the people's party----
80% of the Democratic Party is labor and justice and when union leaders support neo-liberals every election they are bringing the same people killing labor----whether immigrant or domestic -----into office. We can fire up the economy by getting rid of global corporate control of the US economy. Rebuilding a domestic economy driven by small and regional businesses is what gives the American people control of the economy.
CORPORATE POLS ARE DELIBERATELY KEEPING THE ECONOMY STAGNANT AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE FLOODING THE LABOR MARKET WITH IMMIGRANT LABOR.
'The USA - runaway inequality and the decline of democracy
The impact of transient servitude on citizen-workers in North America is exacerbating the trends of runaway inequality and the decline of democracy that were triggered by the massive outsourcing of blue- and white-collar and professional jobs to cheaper labor markets. The presence of a reserve service and industrial workforce that can be employed during economic booms and summarily discharged during downturns without serious political backlash, which at all times works for substandard wages under onerous conditions, undercuts general wage levels and the ability of citizen-workers to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment. This fundamental economic relationship exists whether the reserve workforce consists of women workers, child laborers, disadvantaged ethnic minorities, or undocumented migrant workers. It is because of this fundamental economic relationship between the active workforce and the reserve workforce that the presence of a large population of undocumented workers and the decline of citizen-workers are inextricably linked.
Runaway inequality, driven by massive offshoring and widespread transient servitude, is an undeniable fact of modern life in the USA.'
Just think what Trans Pacific Trade Pact would do with all that immigrant labor-----it would allow global corporations the right to operate in the US as they would in their own country and these immigrants will get no benefit from coming to the US.
THESE ARE US CHAMBER OF COMMMERCE OR ALEC LAWS FOLKS----BRINGING THE US DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF DEVELOPING WORLD BY ALLOWING IMMIGRANT LABOR WORK AS THEY DO IN THEIR OWN NATION. IF US WORKERS WANT A JOB----THEY WILL WORK AS THESE IMMIGRANT WORKERS DO!
INNOVATION!!!!!!!! One billion APPs and internet on glasses----WOW, how worthless. We simply need to produce what Americans need here in America and rebuild the standards of life and wages that allow Americans to be the consumers driving the economy. We don't need over-consumption----we need people able to life a first world quality of life!
High-Skilled Workers Needed to Fire Up the Economy
by Sean Hackbarth Sep 28, 2011
This morning at the U.S. Chamber, Michael Bloomberg - businessman, New York City Mayor, and co-chair of Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) – outlined his plan to reform America's high skilled immigration system to ensure that the United States remains a strong global innovator, competitor, and producer of life-changing products and services such as
As technology advances, the need for scientists and engineers is greater than ever. Bloomberg pointed out that "nearly two-thirds of those who earn a computer-science or engineering Ph.D. from a U.S. institution" are foreign students. Unfortunately while the United States allows these graduate students to study here, current policy prevents them from staying to work and start new companies.
"In today’s global marketplace, we cannot afford to keep turning away those with the skills our country needs to grow and succeed. It’s sabotaging our own economy," said Bloomberg.
Bloomberg offered four ideas to fix our high-skilled immigration system:
- "[W]e should dramatically expand the numbers of green cards available for the best of the best – the highest-skilled workers we need to join the U.S. economy permanently. "
- We should offer green cards to foreign science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students who graduate with advance degrees from U.S. colleges and universities so that they stay in the U.S. instead of taking their valuable skills to other countries.
- We should offer "a conditional visa to immigrants who have capital to back their business ventures. If their new company successfully creates jobs for American workers, the entrepreneur would receive a green card to stay and grow the business into the future." [Learn more at PNAE's website.]
- We should remove the caps on HB-1 visas and the per-country employment green card limits.
Bloomberg was right when he said we can't have too many scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs--no matter where they come from. America's global competitors have policies to draw top-notch talent, and to remain competitive the United States needs to do the same. "These high-skill workers will not only help create thousands of jobs, they’ll also give us knowledge of foreign markets that will help U.S. businesses increase their exports," said Bloomberg.
Our struggling economy means that more than ever we need the innovation, creativity, and energy of high-skilled workers. We don't want to turn away the next Albert Einstein or Sergey Brin or even the person who invents the next Kindle Fire.
It's important to know the goal of Clinton's neo-liberalism-----it will bring third world conditions to the US and indeed Clinton has taken the Caribbean back to colonialism and the same Asian labor conditions as these global corporate pols will bring to the US. Clinton is not known as protecting the poor----he is known all over the world for subjecting the world's labor to the worst of conditions just to maximize profits. That is why we know the Bloomberg statements in the article above have nothing to do with jobs and prosperity for the American people----it only means they are bringing the conditions overseas back to the US!
People that act like the description below do not have the interests of American people at heart----they simply see another labor pool to exploit. Immigrant migration worldwide is meant to undermine stable community development----it keeps people from organizing and having rights as citizens.
IT IS A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO LOWER EVERYONE'S STANDARDS OF LIVING!
Bill Clinton: Haiti ‘s inefficient Colonial Overlord December 16, 2010 By ` by Ashley Smith / August 5th, 2010
Amid the hoopla over Chelsea Clinton’s wedding at a posh estate north of New York City, there were plenty of toasts in the media to Bill Clinton and the good works he’s performed since leaving the White House.
In particular, Clinton’s role in working with Haiti, both before and after the catastrophic earthquake last January, was singled out.
To the U.S. media, Clinton is a compassionate statesmen, with only the best interests of the Haitian people at heart. Particularly since this year’s quake, he has been viewed as a decisive leader who can “get things done,” in contrast to the country’s ineffective government. Because of his role as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), Esquire magazine called Clinton “CEO of a leaderless nation,” the Miami Herald http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png repeatedly refers to him as the “czar of the recovery effort.”
Ordinary Haitians have a different view. They remember Clinton as the man who, while president, demanded Haiti follow the “Plan of Death”–the neoliberal prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png that “structurally adjusted” the Haitian economy in the interests of U.S. business, at the expense of the country’s peasants and poor.
Today, Haitians know Clinton as a man who wields immense power over the country’s future. Esquire’s description of him as the “CEO of a leaderless nation.” can only be called a political Freudian slip–a CEO, after all, is concerned with profitable investments for shareholders, not meeting people’s needs.
It isn’t even true that Clinton can “get things done.” According to the Washington Post http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png, only 2 percent of the more than $5 billion in aid promised by the U.S. and other countries at a UN donor conference for the first 18 months of reconstruction has materialized. Clinton’s IHRC has dispensed just over $500 million so far–a drop in the bucket compared to the need.
Clinton has promised to “burn up the phone lines” to get world governments to fulfill their pledges. But if and when he manages to get funds for the IHRC, no one should be under any illusion that the reconstruction aid will be used in the interests of Haitian peasants and poor.
The IHRC is a colonial body that will implement the same old neoliberal measures. The U.S. spearheaded setting up the IHRC at an international conference in June. In its original design, the 26-member executive body had a majority of foreigners representing various countries and international financial institutions. Faced with protests from Haitians, the executive was reorganized so that there is now 13 Haitians and 13 foreigners. Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Max Bellerive were selected as co-chairs.
But lest anyone mistakenly think Bellerive and the other 13 Haitians have any control over the commission, the World Bank was chosen as the trustee of the funds. On top of that, Haitian President René Préval was compelled to extend his decree of emergency powers to prevent any Haitians from overruling the IHRC’s power in Haiti.
“Haiti’s true government,” wrote Berthony Depont, editor of the weekly left-wing paper Haiti Liberté, “has just been installed on June 17 with 26 members, all handsomely paid, at the Karibe Convention Center. There are 13 junior Haitians, all too happy to be nominated, but who have no credibility with the Haitian people. Then there are the real members of the Interim Haitian Reconstruction Commission: the foreigners.”
Clinton, whatever his penchant for professing to feel Haitians’ pain, will makes sure that the IHRC serves the interests of the U.S. and other powerful governments, in alliance with its allies in Haiti, the wealthy.
As the U.S. Agency for International Development proclaims unapologetically on its Web site: “U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free market, while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world.”
In fact, the whole history of Haiti proves that “free-market economics” benefits U.S. multinationals and the Haitian elite, while impoverishing the masses–and that “expanding democracy” is restricted by who the U.S. government thinks should hold power.
Of course, not even Bill Clinton will claim that Haiti–the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere–has thrived in the neoliberal era. He’s even admitted that U.S. demands during the 1990s that Haiti end trade restrictions against U.S. agricultural products had a devastating effect on the economy. “We made this devil’s bargain on rice,” Clinton said in March. “And it wasn’t the right thing to do. We should have continued to work to help them be self-sufficient in agriculture.”
In a recent Esquire article, he waxed lyrical about what he hoped to accomplish in Haiti. “Haitians…need the organizational structure and the support to get things done,” he told the magazine. “That’s what I’m trying to do: move things along. I want them to consider all their big alternatives. I want them to consider becoming a wireless country, consider becoming an energy-independent country. I want them to close their landfills, recycle everything and use the rest for energy. Wouldn’t it be great if they became the first wireless nation in the world? They could, I’m telling you, they really could.”
Clearly concerned that such projects could be easily dismissed as fantasies about a society where more than 10 percent of the population lives in refugee camps, he retreated later in the interview. “I don’t want to be naïve,” he told Esquire. “It’s going to be a stretch. It’ll be hard, but I’m excited about it. Enough so that after a couple of heart incidents and being sixty-three years old, I am prepared to spend three years on it. They want the right things for their country.”
However, when you look behind Clinton’s fantasizing and his dilettantish commitment of three whole years to Haiti’s future, the IHRC plan is, in fact, the same old plan–with some public relations bells and whistles–that Clinton and his friend Paul Collier, an Oxford professor and former World Bank official, came up with in 2009.
Collier’s blueprint for Haiti is standard neoliberalism–with emphases on pushing sweatshop industries, reorienting Haiti’s desperate peasants toward producing export crops, developing the country’s beaches and historical sites for tourism, and investing in infrastructure to service all these projects, none of which will benefit workers and the poor.
Clinton’s neoliberal plans for Haiti will work out nicely for the vulture capitalists who have descended on Haiti to exploit the earthquake catastrophe. “Haiti has become the new El Dorado in terms of people seeking opportunities to make a quick buck,” Jean-Robert Lafortune, president of the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition, told The Miami Herald http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png.
In March, the International Peace Operations Association held a conference for private security firms like Triple Canopy to contract their services to Haiti’s corporate elite. As Patrick Elie, former minister of defense in Haiti, told the Inter Press Service: “[T]hese guys are like vultures coming to grab the loot over this disaster…[M]oney that might have been injected into the Haitian economy is just going to be grabbed by these companies, and I’m sure they’re not the only mercenary companies.”
Meanwhile, textile manufacturers are lining up to take advantage of IHRC’s commitment to sweatshop labor–and palm off the exploitation of impoverished workers as humanitarianism.
As Time magazine reported, “Gap is planning to roll out its own made-in-Haiti line. The company, which owns Old Navy and is already responsible for 4,000 Haitian textile jobs, may even set up special Haiti sections in some stores. ‘Customers generally don’t care about country of origins,’ says Art Peck, a senior Gap executive. ‘We think they will with Haiti.’”
In the agricultural sector, USAID and Monsanto are collaborating on the misnamed project WINNER–a “benevolent” program that will, in fact, further erode Haiti’s food sovereignty.
Monsanto–in what one of their executives calls a “fabulous Easter gift”–donated 475 tons of hybrid seeds at a cost to itself of $4 million. The seeds are supposed to be distributed to Haitian peasant farmers, but the country’s social movements have long opposed the use of Monsanto’s genetically modified products. Farmers are vowing to burn the Monsanto seeds, which are coated with pesticides and likely not adapted to Haitian diverse soil conditions.
In protest against WINNER, thousands of peasants marched in Hinche on July 4 and burned Monsanto seeds. “With friends like Monsanto and its governmental allies, who needs enemies,” said Benoit Griouard of Union Paysanne. “This so-called donation is an attack on Haitian farmers and the future of their local seeds.” Another leader, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste from the Mouvman Peyizan Papay declared Monsanto’s seeds “a gift of death. It’s an attack on peasant agriculture, on the farmers, on biodiversity, on native seeds, on what remains of our environment in Haiti.”
In perhaps the most bizarre example of disaster capitalism, the Vietnamese Army’s telecommunications company Viettel bought Haiti’s last state-owned company, Teleco, for $59 million.
Before he sold it, Préval fired hundreds of workers and invested precious funds that could have been used for the benefit of Haitians in projects that would make Teleco fit for privatization.
Meanwhile, forces that claim to be a voice for the Haitian people against business and governments are getting a piece of the pie in the aftermath of the quake.
With the exception of a few, like Partners in Health, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have used the Haitian tragedy to accumulate vast sums of money that they haven’t spent to aid the Haitian masses. And when they have, their efforts have been haphazard, uncoordinated and unaccountable to the Haitian people or government.
The Philanthropy News Digest reported in May that “roughly $14.9 billion, or $37,000 per displaced family, has been donated for Haiti earthquake relief efforts to date, much of it raised by the American Red Cross http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png, CARE, Catholic Relief Services http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png and the Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund.
“The Red Cross, for example, has raised $444 million and spent about 25% of that amount; CARE has raised $34.4 million and spent about 16 percent of that; CRS has raised $165 million and spent 8 percent; and the Clinton Bush Fund and the Clinton Foundation have raised $52 million combined, of which 13% has been spent.”
Not only have many NGOs and charities spent only a fraction of what they raised off Haiti, but they also display what the Disaster Accountability Project calls a “shocking lack of transparency.” According to the project’s study of 197 organization that received donations for Haiti, only six provided factual situation reports, while 128 others, had no reports but only emotional appeals and anecdotes.
The Red Cross has come under particular fire. Outraged after a fact-finding trip to Haiti, Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz http://twitter-badges.s3.amazonaws.com/t_mini-a.png attacked the Red Cross, saying, “We were actually pretty struck by the fact that we didn’t see the Red Cross anywhere at all.”
After hearing the Red Cross’ claim that it was holding onto the bulk of donations around Haiti for long-term projects, Wasserman Schultz later softened her criticisms. But the truth is that NGOs like the Red Cross shouldn’t be rationing funds in such an emergency; Haitians need money for reconstruction right now.
The stinginess of the NGOs has angered Haitians. Ruth Derilus, who worked for an NGO with a multimillion-dollar budget after the 2008 floods in Gonaïves, told the Nation magazine she would never work for one again because “of all the money they send here, only 10 percent actually makes it to the ground. The rest is spent on foreign experts, hotels, car rentals and hotel conferences.”
Instead of helping to solve the crisis, the NGOs are making money off Haiti and restricting aid. Meanwhile, the U.S. and other powerful governments use the NGOs to effectively bypass the Haitian state, further weakening its role in the country. Thus, the IHRC will only spend 6.6 percent of its budget through the Haitian state–the rest will go to private corporations and NGOs.
This is why many Haitians, as well as others in the Caribbean who have had similar experiences, have denounced the NGOs for undermining Haitian democracy.
After a meeting of the Caribbean Community, Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, stated, “With respect to the NGOs operating out of Haiti, we called on the UN secretary general to do all that he can to bring some level of order to the situation, because while we speak about maintaining democracy in Haiti, we can’t at the same time be affording NGOs to undermine the democratic institutions in Haiti…We call on the international institutions and government to cease and desist from putting resources into the NGOs.
From celebrity political figures like Bill Clinton, to the U.S. and other powerful governments, to corporations and NGOs, the forces and institutions that could make a difference in the lives of poor Haitians are putting other interests first. Haitians endured the disaster of the earthquake. Now they are facing the man-made disaster of neoliberalism.