Dotie Joseph, immigrant advocacy groups call for ‘compassionate response’ to Haitian crisis
Rep. Dotie Joseph suggested Florida use a definition for antisemitism by the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, Image via Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Gov. DeSantis is taking a different approach.

With the situation continuing to be grave in Haiti, and with Gov. Ron DeSantis mobilizing state forces to rebuff refugees fleeing the country, a Democratic legislative leader is joining with groups advocating for immigrants to call for a more measured response.

“Securing our borders in a legal and humane way requires real governance, not political posturing. In this case, digging deeper into what’s fueling the current violence in Haiti, we know that the guns — none of which are manufactured in Haiti — are being shipped from the United States, and primarily from Florida,” Rep. Dotie Joseph said.

Joseph, who was born in Haiti, urges government to “focus its law enforcement resources on making sure shipments from Florida are properly screened for illegal arms and munitions.”

“We can also ensure that state agencies are not weaponized to prevent churches and other nonprofits from caring for those who are legally admitted. Economically, we can work on integrating these hard working and tax paying migrants into our state economy at a time where employers are squealing about workforce shortages,” Joseph asserted.

“These days, playing politics with people’s lives is on brand for politicians and may even be gaining popularity nationwide, but at some point, we need to get back to actual governance by addressing very real needs for the people of Florida to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. Around the world, I believe that more and more everyday people are starting to see how much we need to treat those fleeing violence with dignity and compassion, rather than manipulating the situation for political gain. That is what it is to be human. So the question is, do we really want to fix the problem, or just pretend to and talk about it for political points?”

Tessa Petit, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition and a native of Haiti, describes an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis that demands our immediate attention and compassionate action.”

“More violence and militarization seems to be the easiest route to use than compassion and impactful responses for long term solutions. The cruelty of the Governor’s use of military power shows a lack of humanity and consideration for our Haitian brothers and sisters who are fleeing deadly violence and persecution,” Petit said.

“We ask for swift and powerful action from the (Joe) Biden administration in protecting Haitians fleeing deadly violence and uphold our international duties of safe haven. This is the time to redesignate TPS for Haiti, and furthermore, grant refugee status for Haitians. Waiting on this issue would be catastrophic!”

Haitian-born and raised Marleine Bastien, the Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement, makes similar points.

“The proposed deployment of over 250 Florida state officers and soldiers of Florida’s National Guard is an inappropriate militarized response designed to intimidate Haitian immigrants who have already suffered immeasurable trauma,” Bastien said.

“These are human beings — mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters — who are seeking shelter from gang-perpetrated murder, kidnapping, and rape in Haiti, not ‘illegal aliens’ from which Florida’s National Guard must ‘protect’ Florida and ‘defend its people,’ as Governor DeSantis described them. This is a deeply troubling perpetuation of a pattern of discriminatory language and policies. Deploying armed men paid by the government but outside normal accountability systems — reminiscent of past authoritarian rulers in other countries — is an abuse of power not worthy of a democratic government in the 21st century.”

The Governor announced this week a 250-strong deployment to South Florida, with more than half from the State Guard, which saw its forces doubled recently given the graduation of a training class.

In addition to that 133-member contingent, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will send 39 additional officers, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will deploy 23 additional officers with eight additional seacraft, the Florida National Guard will engage 48 additional Guardsmen with four additional helicopters, and the Florida Highway Patrol will allocate 30 additional officers with an additional aircraft and drones for surveillance.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Impeach Biden

    March 14, 2024 at 2:12 pm

    The Haitian people are good people for the most part. Haiti is a dump. Been there many times. Unfortunately we can’t take everyone in this country. At some point we have to say enough is enough. Remember what Democrat Hank Johnson said about too many US military people on the island of Guam. We simply can’t handle all the world’s problems and bring all the refugees here. Too many people here and the earth might not be able to rotate. Right Hank?

    • MH/Duuuval

      March 14, 2024 at 2:37 pm

      The 2A crew in the US that enabled the criminal network that shipped firearms to Haiti that underpins the violence there can’t be expected now to step up and provide a solution.

      An international intervention must happen and soon. But, before that can occur and Haiti regain some kind of stability, the US should expect desperate Haitians to try to make their way here. And, like all legitimate asylum seekers, they should be examined, registered, and paroled — hopefully to family, friends and potential employers.

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 14, 2024 at 8:11 pm

    Good evening America,
    Y’all want something done about Haiti? Well your talken to the wrong man.
    Joe 8iden is who y’all need to be talking to. But your not.
    There is nothing Any Govornor of Any State can do other than protect their border.
    This free dose of Sage Common Sense Political Wisdom has been brought forth for your edification by ME, Earl Pitts American,

Comments are closed.


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