The Other Coup

Internal strife brews at Miami's Haitian Refugee Center, even as the future of 10,000 new clients hangs in the balance

Little, who was given three months of compensation pay by the center, has continued to monitor the situation in Haiti and hopes to keep working on behalf of Haitian refugees, probably at another agency. Cruz has taken a job as director of the immigration unit at Legal Services of Greater Miami.

Like other board members, Stephen Malagodi emphasizes positive changes within the HRC during the past few months, including capital improvements and a recent rally featuring dancer/activist Katherine Dunham that brought hundreds of Haitians together and raised thousands of dollars for the HRC.

But Mona Michel and other advocates stress that the recent shake-up comes in the midst of the center's gravest challenge. While international media attention remains riveted to U.S. policy toward incoming Haitians, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has already allowed more than 10,000 refugees into the country. All of them must now file asylum applications - within three months of arrival, unless INS officials grant an extension - if they are to secure the right to remain in the land of the free.

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