Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Help Sought To Get More Haitians Visas To US

By Jenifer Kay, Associated Press
January 6, 2012

MIAMI—With the two-year anniversary of Haiti’s massive earthquake approaching next week, members of Congress are joining Haitian-American community leaders to push the Obama administration to help more Haitians get visas to live and work in the U.S.

They want to fast-track visas for tens of thousands of Haitians whose petitions to join relatives in this country already have been approved. A cap on the number of visas that the U.S. grants each year, though, means it can take a decade for a visa to be issued.

It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Haitians are on the waiting list for visas to join their families in the U.S., and more than 15,000 of them are the spouses and children of U.S. citizens, according to the Dec. 22 letter sent by eight members of Florida’s congressional delegation to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio both signed, as did six U.S. representatives, including Democrat Frederica Wilson, whose Miami district represents more Haitians than any other in Congress, and Republican Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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