What happened the DAY BEFORE President Trump’s alleged remarks about immigrants from Haiti last week is worth drawing attention to.
Last Thursday, January 11, President Trump rejected an immigration reform proposal authored by the bipartisan “Gang of Six,” as it did not meet the priorities he had laid out.
Lawmakers presenting the plan also suggested giving special protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, which Trump especially opposed. It was reported that he responded with, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”
President Trump has flatly denied that he used those exact words, while some lawmakers have insisted he did, and others have said they did not hear him use that exact language.
Outrage erupted across the nation, as well as from world leaders, as many accused Trump of being racist against the Haitians and condemned his alleged statement.
However, the DAY BEFORE this incident, on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the U.S. State Department issued a LEVEL 3 TRAVEL ADVISORY on Haiti – which is just one step from the highest travel warning allowed.
This travel warning on the severe and alarming conditions in Haiti sheds light on why President Trump may have objected so strongly to the suggestions by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), along with other lawmakers, that the U.S. should take in more Haitian immigrants.
Below is the travel advisory posted on the State Department website:
Travel Advisory issued January 10, 2018
Haiti – Level 3: Reconsider travel
Reconsider travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents or emergencies. Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and often spontaneous.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in some areas of Haiti. U.S. Embassy personnel must receive permission from the Embassy security officer to travel to some areas of Port-au-Prince. Embassy employees are discouraged, and in some instances prohibited, from walking in city neighborhoods, including Pétion Ville. After dark, Embassy personnel are prohibited from visiting establishments without secure, on-site parking. Travel outside of Port-au-Prince is prohibited after dark. Embassy employees are under a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The use of public banks and ATMs by Embassy employees is prohibited at all times. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using any kind of public transportation throughout the country.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Haiti:
- Avoid demonstrations.
- Arrange airport transfers and hotels in advance, or have your host meet you upon arrival.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Haiti.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.