An Analysis of The U.S. Government's Policies Toward the Haitian "Boat People" Influx in the Context of International Refugee Law
Schmidt, Peter G.
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From 1972 to 1982, the United States faced an alien influx which sorely tested our government's capacity to fulfill its legal and moral obligations towards refugees. More than 100,000 Haitians made an 800 mile journey to the U.S. by boat and arrived on the shores of Florida; of these Haitians, more than 40,000 filed refugee status claims. Together with more than 100,000 Cubans who had sailed from the Cuban port of Mariel, the so-called Haitian "boat people" overwhelmed our refugee processing system and made headlines with stories of detention camp unrest, riots, and tragic drowning deaths at sea. Were the Haitian "boat people" a humanitarian concern? If so, did the United States government address this concern successfully? According to Miller, "the major problem faced by scholars who attempt to analyze the plight of the Haitian 'boat people' is one of definition: Are they or are they not refugees?" Once we have addressed this question, we can then analyze the U.S. government's policies and decide whether our treatment of the Haitians was legal, fair, and, most important of all, humane.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email email@example.com to request access to this SIP.