Immigration reform: It’s not just about Mexicans.
A group of Democratic members of Congress relayed that message Monday at an immigration forum in North Miami, home to one of the nation’s largest Haitian communities.
“You can’t discuss a new modern immigration system without discussing a new, fairer treatment of Haitians,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a top House immigration-reform player.
“Immigration reform is not just Mexicans. It’s not just Latinos,” he said before the Haitian Evangelical Baptists Church forum. “Look at the richness of people coming from the Bahamas and Jamaica. And, of course, look at people from Haiti.”
The message was tailor-made for many in the crowd.
After the 2010 earthquake that left tens — if not hundreds — of thousands dead or homeless, thousands of Haitian immigrants flooded the United States.
As a result, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson represents one of the most-Haitian congressional districts, home to Monday night’s forum.
Right now, none of those recent Haitian immigrants get special consideration in the immigration bill proposed in the Senate, drafted in part by West Miami resident and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
The House has yet to release its bill and Gutierrez won’t discuss its contents.