There Goes the Neighborhood

Residents of Miami's "Upper East Side" have no problem with Haitians yearning to breathe free. It's those seedy Biscayne Boulevard motels that they can't stand.

For the most part, though, the pool has been an ignored entity as refugees pass quickly through the motels on their way to new homes. Indeed, relief organizers emphasize that the motels are purely functional and that the refugees stay there no longer than three days. "When they come here, not all the families can pick them up the same day, so they have to be put up for a few days," explains Maurice Brandt, a former caseworker for the U.S. Catholic Conference.

Exilus Losemy and other refugees report that during their day-and-a-half in Miami, they were treated well and had no hassles with crime. In fact, they say, the motel rooms - with full-size beds, televisions, good plumbing, and access to a pool - were positively luxurious compared to what they were accustomed to in Haiti. "It's much more comfortable here than it is at home," remarks a joyful Losemy. "In Haiti, there's shooting all the time. Pah! Pah! Pah! It's dangerous, very dangerous. Here I can rest.

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