MIAMI, FL – One of the first cases that will come before new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a discrimination suit.
Haitian immigrant Jacques Orneuve filed a discrimination suit against the U.S. government, claiming he was unjustly denied Social Security benefits, simply because he is a zombie!
The man says officials told him that he is dead and is therefore not eligible for government benefits. BUt Orneuve, who arrive in the U.S. from Port au Prince 15 years ago, says he has a right to collect just like anybody else.
“I’m not dead – I’m the living dead,” says Orneuve. “There’s a distinct difference. They treat me like I don’t exist.
“But the Social Security guys say their hands are tied. They sent for my records from Haiti and they show I died in 1993. On the basis of that they say they don’t owe me a dime.
“I think this is outrageous considering that I came to this country in good faith and worked hard as a laborer for more than 13 years and they took out Social Security all that time. But they say they’ve never had a zombie try to collect before and they don’t know what to do.”
According to local accounts, Orneuve lived in Haiti’s capital all his life. Records there show that he died in 1993 at the age of 51, but friends and relatives swear he was brought back as a zombie in a voodoo ceremony several days after he passed away.
Orneuve and his son were among a group of Haitians who sailed to Florida in 1994, leaving their country behind because of political tensions. The two used false papers to get work, found an apartment and became U.S. residents.
Last year after Orneuve was injured and could no longer do his job, he filed for Social Security benefits. A few weeks later he got a call from a government clerk informing him he was ineligible for assistance because he was dead.
“I understand that Americans have a fear of zombies, but that shouldn’t keep them from obeying the law,” Orneuve said. “They’re discriminating against me beacuse of my religion and my physical condition. It’s got to stop.”