About Our Documents

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About Our Documents

Many Cuban and Haitian refugees have faced considerable plight when seeking asylum in the United States. The 1980s marked a period in which thousands of Cubans and Haitians fled their oppressive countries in search of the American Dream: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The documents on this website are derived from the personal collection of Arthur P. Endres, who served as counsel for the House Judicatory Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law.

1. Letter to Commissioner Alan Nelson
National Urban League President Clarence Wood expresses his concern for creating refugee laws that would apply to Cubans but exclude Haitians, who are equally deserving of such laws.

2. Florida Organizations Strongly Endorse Passage of Cuban-Haitian Adjustment Act of 1984
In this letter, three civil rights organizations show their support for the piece of legislation known as The Cuban-Haitian Adjustment Act of 1984. The document also discusses some of the plight faced by these refugees.

3. Letter to Congressman Rodno
This letter was written in support of the proposed Cuban-Haitian Adjustment Act. It provides a glimpse into the unjust legal treatment of Cuban and Haitian refugees in the United States.

4. Floor Statement of the Honorable Peter W. Rodino, Jr. on H.R. 23 (Cuban- Haitian Bill)
In this document, the Hon. Rodino points out that many Haitian refugees will face deportation if the Cuban-Haitian bill is not passed.

5. New York Times Article Haitians and the Lucky Law
 This newspaper article raises public awareness of the legal inequities that have tormented Haitian refugees in America and demonstrates the severity of the issue.

6. News Release 
 This news release on the Cuban-Haitian Adjustment Act explores the humanitarian aspects of the bill, particularly on the subject of racism against Haitian refugees.

7.  Who is a Refugee? 
In this thought-provoking article, Dr. Andrew Shacknove attempts to create a cohesive definition for the term “refugee” while discussing the ethical and legal implications.

8. Endorsement Letter by the National Coalition of Haitian Refugees 
Here, the National Coalition of Haitian Refugees asks for crucial support of The Cuban and Haitian Adjustment Act to further their mission of protecting Haitian and Haitian-American rights.

9.  Library of Congress- Congressional Research
 Research performed by the Library of Congress on the entrant status of Cuban-Haitian refugees.

10.  Endorsement Letter by Leadership Conference of Human Rights  
In this letter, the Leadership Conference of Human Rights urges all  representatives to support The Cuban-Haitian Adjustment Act.

Together our collection paints a “behind-the-scenes” picture of the law-making process, including rarely seen research reports, endorsement letters, and correspondences. However, within these documents is also the story of real people collaborating on a goal that would affect the lives of thousands of Cuban and Haitian immigrants seeking refuge in the United States. By showcasing ten historical documents, we tell the story of the unnecessary suffering faced by these refugees and how well-meaning people tried to do something to change it.

Our laws promise the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to all of those that come here. In the following pages, you will see people trying to deliver on that promise.

Header Photo Credit:
Gerlat,. (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved October 25, 2013, from http://pixabay.com/en/flag-blow-wind-flutter-characters-75047/ CC0 (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en).

Slideshow Credits:
Photo 1: Winter, M. (1968). [Photograph]. Twice in a lifetime. UNRWA Middle East Export Press, Inc. Endres Collection, St, Johns University, NY.

Photo 2: Niklas-B. (2011). Photo DSC_5012a [Photograph]. Retreived December 8, 2013, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651769@N04/6158442348/in/photolist-aocCmu-ccrzh5-bV5iUn-a59Ump / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/).

Photo 3: Rlankton. (2011). Cuban Refugees Aboard Matalide Arriving in Kew West from Mariel Cuba. [Photograph]. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/62967159@N04/5727328057/  / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/).

Photo 4: Migulski, B. (2006). Memorial to Cuban Refugees Who Died Attempting to Get to the USA, Miami. [Photograph]. Retrieved December 8, 2013, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/20172348@N00/161833788/in/photolist-firxJ-7fSatU-7fSaeW-7fNdZ8-7fNeK6-7fSaif-7fNdGF-9oQYq9-7fNeRi-6FAzMQ) / CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).

Photo 5: Winter, M. (1968). [Photograph]. Twice in a lifetime. UNRWA Middle East Export Press, Inc. Endres Collection, St. Johns University, NY.

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