Vice: Sweet Home Alabama / Haitian Money Pit
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Vice: Sweet Home Alabama / Haitian Money Pit

In 2011, the state of Alabama passed one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the history of the United States. Based on the hardline policy known as “self-deportation,” Alabama’s HB-56 aimed to make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they’d opt to leave the state on their own: the law granted police unprecedented powers to arrest, question, and detain suspected illegal immigrants, and even criminalized citizens who provided undocumented workers with jobs, housing, or transportation. The law created a climate of hostility that may have forced tens of thousands of immigrants to flee—and it may also have done real damage to the state’s economy.

With illegal immigration roiling American communities and the upcoming presidential race, we sent Thomas Morton to Alabama to see what it would look like if undocumented workers just disappeared.

Then: when a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010, killing more than 300,000 people and leaving more than 2 million survivors homeless, the international community came together to provide nearly $10 billion in relief and reconstruction aid. But where did all that money go? And why are so many Haitians still living in abominable conditions in the very places that foreigners promised to rebuild?

VICE’s Vikram Gandhi goes to Port-au-Prince to follow the money trail and see whether the billions of dollars in aid are actually changing the lives for the better.

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