Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998

Feb 26, 2013

The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act grants permanent residence to Haitians who has been in the U.S. on or before December 31, 1995.

Fanm Ayisyen  Nan  Miyami Inc. (F.A.N.M) led the fight for HIRFA resulting in the biggest contingent of participants ( 1,000 from Miami) to a   demonstration which brought thousands to Washington D.C. composed of  Haitians and their supporters . The demonstration held March 23, 1998 was considered the determining factor in HIRFA’s final success.  F.A.N.M. organized at the grassroots level for 3 long years.  

Our clients learned the ABC’s of successful organizing in addition to learning about U.S. Congress..how it works, how it functions…how to identify lawmakers…how to approach them…how to make an effective 2 minutes presentation.  After the demonstration, Haitians for the first time went to the Hill to advocate on their own behalf.  In the past, other leaders went to Congress and came back to report to community members.  For the first time in the community’s history, the members were empowered and given the tools to advocate on their own behalf.  FANM gave them a voice and Washington heard them loud and clear. One of FANM’s bedrock principles is: the best advocates..the best organizers are those who are directly impacted.

We believe in giving our clients the tools to organize, mobilize and succeed versus just giving them what they need.   (please see the New Times Article: The Catalyst  by Kathy Glascow November 5th, 1998, Florida Immigrant Coalition Board President Marleine Bastien and Bishop  of Orlando Testify Before Congress, May 23, 2007, FANM Testified in Congress on Immigration Reform, Haiti Reborn, Marleine Bastien of FANM Testified in Congress, Friendship Office of the Americas, Testimony of Marleine Bastien, Executive Director , Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami.

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