Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Overview continued ... page 3

Purnell's Model

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Family roles & organization
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Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

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Death rituals

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Health care practices
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Health care practitioners




Reasons for immigration

Most waves of Haitian immigration into the U. S. resulted from political and economic instability in Haiti.

  • 1915-1934: During this period, the first group of Haitian immigrants reach the U.S. These people were fleeing the horror inflicted during the American occupation of Haiti. Many of these immigrants were believed to have settled into Harlem and assimilated into the African American society. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
  • 1957-1964: This wave of immigration resulted from Francois Duvalier's dictatorship. These immigrants tended to be from the upper class and were opponents of Duvalier's regime. Their exodus resulted in a brain drain in Haiti by depriving Haiti of its well-educated population.4, 15, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34   
  • Late 1960s: The reasons for immigration in this time period included "Papa Doc" Duvalier's terrorist regime, ease of entering the U. S., and the need of U.S. industry for skilled workers due to the Vietnam War. These immigrants tended to be skilled laborers from the middle and lower class.4, 21, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34

  • Late 1970s and early 1980s: This period saw a large immigration of uneducated peasants and urban dwellers fleeing the repression and violence of "Baby Doc's" regime. These immigrants became known as the "Boat People" due to their covert arrival in small boats. This flow of immigrants into the U. S.  continued until the 1990 election of Aristide.21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34 

  • October of 1980:  In 1980, the United States initiated a policy that Haitians who arrived in the United States were unwelcome economic refugees. These economic refugees would be considered parolees and subject to deportation. 4, 15, 17, 34

  • 1992: Continuing the deflection of Haitian immigrants, President Bush ordered that boats of Haitians found by the Coast Guard were to be returned to Haiti without screening. 4, 15, 17,

  • 1993:  The Supreme Court soon ruled that deportation was legal and illegal immigrants could legally be sent back to their country of origin. These rulings have not stopped the efforts of the Haitians. Thousands try each year to enter the U.S. They willingly give up all their money to those who can get them on a boat, all the while knowing their life is at risk.4, 15, 17, 34

  • As many as half of the Haitian immigrants that have settled in this country are here illegally.15 




Overview, inhabited localities and topography:

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Copyright  2003