Filed Under: News
There's been no shortage of press coverage of the 101 Haitian "migrants" who arrived by sailboat on the shores of Hallandale Beach in March, and who now face potential deportation. But little has been written about the fate of the fourteen children among them. They're not, as far as immigration officials know, the children of the adults in detention. They came here alone.
The children, who range in age from nine to sixteen, are staying at the Boystown "shelter" a name that downplays the fact that, like their adult counterparts, they're in federal custody. "We don't have any complaints about the shelter itself," says Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC). "Our concern is that we don't think children should be kept in detention for any length of time at all."
In order to stay in the U.S., each child must demonstrate a legitimate asylum claim. FIAC's attorneys are charged with the difficult task of drawing out of the children their reasons for leaving Haiti which is generally the last thing they want to talk about.
"Some children flee because they were literally living in the streets and subject to an awful lot of abuses," says Little. "They may be forced to work at an early age. They may have been forced into prostitution."
Father Reginald Jean-Marie, a priest at the Notre Dame d'Haiti Church in Little Haiti, has visited the kids several times. "They were talking about how terrible it was to spend 22 days at sea, and the way they survived by drinking salt water mixed with toothpaste."
If the Haitian children can't convince a juvenile court judge that being returned to their home country is not in their best interest, they will be deported. It happens all the time. "Last year, there were about 300 unaccompanied minors in immigration custody in Miami-Dade County," says Little. "But this year, the numbers are way up." Isaiah Thompson
Filed Under: News
After last week's shooting spree in Blacksburg, long-dormant proponents of gun control crawled out of the woodwork and began to crow their "I told you so"s. Legislation to allow employees to keep guns in their cars at work failed in Atlanta and Tallahassee bad timing while the NRA shot back a typical refrain: What if there had been just one good shot with a concealed weapon on the Virginia Tech campus?
Fred Grimm, a columnist for the Herald, described the logic as "wild," mocking the proposition on its face. "Enlightenment didn't last long," he lamented.
Perhaps someone should inform Grimm that he is living in the firearms capital of the Southeast. Florida receives an "F+" from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for its legislative efforts to shield families from gun violence. Of the state's half-million concealed weapons licensees, 300,000 live in South Florida.
True to form, a South Florida makeup artist-turned-tactical firearms instructor has offered to teach every schoolteacher and administrator in the state how to shoot defensively gratis. "My intentions are only the best," insists Mark Wittenberg, owner of the Pembroke Pines-based Defensive Shooting Instructors Inc.
When asked if it is legal for teachers to be in possession of firearms on school campuses where guns are almost always banned, even with a license Wittenberg countered, "Do you drive 55 miles per hour?" Calvin Godfrey
Filed Under: Food
The appearance of Szechuan-glazed "White Marble Farms pork shank" on the menu at Acqua, in the Four Seasons Miami, recently prompted New Times to look into the provenance of this fabled, supposedly pastoral pork.
White Marble Farms turns out to be a brand name cooked up by Sysco marketers for industrial pork from Cargill Meat Solutions. Its literature boasts of using "unique animals raised on Midwestern farms and specially bred." Hogwash! These pigs never see a pasture. They are raised indoors just like most commercial pork shuttered inside concrete pens and fed offal, with their tails hacked off to prevent other pigs in close quarters from chewing them.
Cargill produces its own brand of specialty pork, "Prairie Grove Farms," which they claim is grown by an "exclusive network of family farmers in Iowa and Illinois." The company's Website brags of how the company "controls the integrity" of its pork "from conception to consumer." But attempts to get Cargill to disclose the names of the farms or farmers raising either Prairie Grove or White Marble pork have proven futile.
Sysco and Cargill are attempting to trade in on the success of Niman Ranch, which pasture-raises its animals in a traditional farm setting without growth hormones or antibiotics. Niman Ranch can tell you what farm the animals came from, and have given many family businesses a way to get their product to a national market. Their pork is, in fact, something special. Sysco and Cargill are simply feeding us regular pork mixed with a lot of bull. Lee Klein