Julio López Varona on Puerto Rico Colonialism, Guerline Jozef on Haitian Refugee Abuse – FAIR

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(New York, 9/22/22)
This week on CounterSpin: As Puerto Rico struggles under another “natural” disaster, we’re seeing some recognition of what’s unnatural about the conditions the island faces, that determine its ability to protect its people. We’re even getting some critical mumblings about “finance bros”—people from the States who go to the island to exploit tax laws designed to reward them wildly. New York magazine described “a wave of mostly white mainlanders” that “has moved to Puerto Rico, buying real estate and being accused of pushing out locals who pay their full tax burden.” Gotta get that passive voice in there. But of course, it isn’t just that these tax giveaways favoring non–Puerto Ricans are gross and unfair; you have to acknowledge in the same breath that money going to them is money not going to Puerto Rico’s energy systems, schools, hospitals, housing. We talk about the harms inflicted on Puerto Rico that have nothing to do with hurricanes, with Julio López Varona, co-chief of campaigns at the Center for Popular Democracy.
(AP via PBS, 9/24/21)
Also on the show: Customs and Border Protection released findings from an internal investigation a few months back, declaring that no horse-riding Border Patrol agents actually hit any Haitian asylum seekers with their reins, as they chased them down on the Southern border last fall. That finding is disputed, but consider the premise: that people would need to create tales of horror about the treatment of Haitians at Del Rio, where people were shackled, left in cold cells, denied medicine, and separated from children as young as a few days old. Media subtly underscore that skepticism: AP ran a piece at the time telling readers that the appalling images shocked everyone:
But to many Haitians and Black Americans, they’re merely confirmation of a deeply held belief: US immigration policies, they say, are and have long been anti-Black.
The Border Patrol’s treatment of Haitian migrants, they say, is just the latest in a long history of discriminatory US policies and of indignities faced by Black people, sparking new anger among Haitian Americans, Black immigrant advocates and civil rights leaders.
Understand, then: The racism in US immigration policy is a mere “belief,” held by Black people, and only they are upset about it. And this dismissive, divisive view is “good,” sympathetic reporting! We get another, grounded perspective from Guerline Jozef, founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
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September 30, 2022 at 1:21 pm
Immigration restrictions were always about maintaining a white majority.
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FAIR is the national progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias, spin and misinformation. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. We expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, we believe that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.
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