Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Press Release: Resolution Calling Upon the Department of Homeland Security to Create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, which would Benefit Haitians Recovering from the January 12, 2010 Earthquake by Allowing Haitians with Approved Family-Sponsored Immigrant Visa Petitions to Come to the United States (IJDH)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, 786-877-6999, steveforester@aol.com (U.S.)

Resolution calling upon the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, which would benefit Haitians recovering from the January 12, 2010 earthquake by allowing Haitians with approved family-sponsored immigrant visa petitions to come to the United States.

(Boston, November 3, 2011) Sponsored by NYC Council Members Mathieu Eugene and Daniel Dromm, the resolution introduced today before NY’s City Council joins widespread calls to DHS to save lives and help Haiti recover by creating a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP) to generate badly needed remittances and mirror the Cuban FRPP under which over 30,000 beneficiaries have been paroled into the United States since 2009.  See text at http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=993472&GUID=9BBDDD36-84A7-4144-B3B2-D446FC520FE9

The resolution states that Haitians living in New York City are “extremely concerned for the well-being of their family members still living in Haiti” and urges DHS’s use of its parole authority to permit approved beneficiaries on a wait list there of “up to 11 years” “to wait in the United States, rather than in Haiti, for their visa priority dates to become current.”  “USCIS-approved family-based visa petition beneficiaries already have a family support system in place, making it less likely that they would require or avail themselves of public benefits,” the resolution notes.

Massachusetts’ leaders in three recent letters have written DHS Secretary Napolitano urging creation of this program: State Legislature and Black and Latino Legislative Caucus members Representatives Linda Dorcena Forry, Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, Gloria Fox, Russell Holmes, Benjamin Swan, Marcos Devers, Carlos Henriquez and Jeffrey Sanchez (November 2); U.S. Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown and Reps. Michael Capuano, Barney Frank, James McGovern, Edward Markey, John Olver and Stephen Lynch (October 25); and Gov. Deval Patrick (September 22).

Strong calls for the White House and DHS to implement this relief have also come from the editorial boards of the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, San Antonio Express News, Miami Herald, Newsday, Star-Ledger, and Palm Beach Post in 13 separate editorials; from Philadelphia’s City Council, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the City of North Miami in resolutions, the latter passed October 11; from six U.S. Senators in a January 2011 letter; from Haitian-American leaders and editorial writers; and in the June 2011 Center for Global Development paper urging DHS to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program and to start, as suggested in last week’s letter from Senators Kerry and Brown and their six House colleagues, by promptly paroling the most vulnerable.

The White House and Secretary Napolitano have so far ignored these urgent calls, while children and other close relatives, already approved by DHS to join their families here, continue on a 4 to 11 year wait list in Haiti, where many may not survive given post-quake conditions of devastation, cholera and danger.  May these resolutions and recent letters from national, state and local leaders not fall on deaf ears.

(Links to the recent letters from Massachusetts leaders and other support may be found at www.HaitiJustice.org.)

At the Insti­tute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH), we fight for the human rights of Haiti’s poor in court, on the streets, and wher­ever deci­sions about Haitians’ rights are made. We rep­re­sent vic­tims of injus­tice, includ­ing earth­quake vic­tims, vic­tims of gender-based vio­lence, and the unjustly impris­oned. Together with our Hait­ian affil­i­ate, the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI), we have six­teen years of demon­strated suc­cess enforc­ing Haitians’ human rights in Haiti and abroad. Visit haitijustice.org. Fol­low @IJDH on Twitter.

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