At what point are we no more than the enemy? Haitian citizens, running from the violence and poverty of their country only to run into policies that paint these citizens as criminals and terrorists. Danticat’s powerful and personal argument demands attention to an issue of which many of America’s citizens simply do not pay mind to. Danticat talks about the ‘prisons’ that many Haitian immigrants must live in as they wait for deportation. This is a place, usually a hotel, where a little girl cannot “sit under one of those tall palm trees in the courtyard, feel the sunshine on her face and touch the green grass with her feet.” Danticat paints the picture of her uncle, a man of the cloth, who runs from his home in Haiti in 2004, only to be held in one of these hotels, denied of his medication, and die as a result.
But is there a reason our society has turned this blind eye? Perhaps these policies that are meant to protect us were made with good intention, and maybe they even work well, but it is impossible to deny that there are some that have suffered because of these policies. But is ridding ourselves of these policies the right thing for the American people in the long run? Do we believe that because we’re saving ourselves from another 9/11 that these terrible acts are worth it in the end? Is this another reference to Omelas where the suffering of a few is worth the happiness of many? We must ask ourselves if we have unconsciously become the enemy through our omission.