Sweet Home Alabama and Haitian Money Pit
In 2011, the state of Alabama passed one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in U.S. history. 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. But if the climate of hostility it created may have forced thousands of immigrants to flee, it may also have done real damage to the state's economy. With illegal immigration roiling American communities and the upcoming presidential race, Thomas Morton went to Alabama to see what it would look like if undocumented workers just "disappeared."
After a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010, killing more than 300,000 and leaving more than two 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? Vikram Gandhi went to Port-au-Prince to follow the money trail, and see whether the billions of dollars in aid are actually changing lives for the better.