Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haitian-Americans Call on Obama to Facilitate Legal Migration

By Defend.ht

MARLEINE BASTIEN AND COMMUNITY LEADERS

MIAMI, USA (defend.ht) – Haitian American officials and political activists gathered Tuesday June 26th in front of the office of Haitian Women in Miami, Little Haiti, Miami, to ask U.S. President Barack Obama to approve the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program as it was done for the Cuban refugees.

Many Haitian children and adults were also standing with t-shirts and signs with slogans stating “Let the children come”, “Same treatments for Haitians and Cubans”, “Haitian vote count” etc. They were protesting while President Obama was in Florida Tuesday for a fundraising concert in Miami Beach.

“29 long months since the earthquake, we advocated locally and nationally, urging President Obama to approve the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program”, said activist Marleine Bastien, founder and executive director of Haitian Women in Miami (FANM).

“It’s been proven that the best way to keep people from taking the sea on refugee boats and risk their lives just like they did a week ago, the best way to facilitate Haiti’s recovery is to facilitate legal migration”, added the community leader.

“But despite rallies, petitions, letters, advocacy around the nation, editorials from major newspapers, thousands of signatures collected and sent to President Obama, the president and his administration have remained mum. We hope that the reason he didn’t take any decision is because his advisers have not given him the right message. We gather here today to send the right message… We ask President to let Haitians that visas have been approved join their family members here, at least let the children come first”, proposed Mrs Bastien.

Further, she asked president Obama why the Family Reunification Parole Program has been approved for Cubans two times in a role but not for Haitians. “Why the double standard, Mr. President?”, she questioned urging to an equal treatment for Haitians.

On his side, the North Miami Vice Mayor, Jean Marcellus, stated that “what we ask is simple. In a way to stop the illegal migration, we ask White House and President Obama to approve the HRPP, to start with the legal migration allowing Haitians whose visas have been approved to join their family here”. “The time is now to do something for Haitians, Mr. Obama, it will be a win-win situation for you”, according to Mr. Marcellus.

American activist Jack Lieberman, founder of the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, and strong supporter of President Obama, said that president Obama did the right thing in Dream Act, the right thing in Arizona Monday. He asked the first Black president to do the right thing for Haitian refugees.

Marie Rose Pierre, a mother of six children who are still in Haiti, besought president Obama to help her “as he can” so those children may come in the US. “Please, please, please, help me president! Some of my family members died already while waiting in vain to come here.”

Many Haitian American elected officials, politicians, lawyers and activists, professionals like Jean-Robert Lafortune (President of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition), Rudy Moise (running for Congress), Daphnee Campbell (State Representative), Nancy Francillon (Americans for Immigrant Justice), Daniel Fils-Aime (Chairman Haitian American Historical Society) and Farah Larrieux (Chair of Public Relations Committee at Haitian American Professionals Coalition) took part in that sit-in. They urged president to give the executive order allowing Haitians whose visas were approved to come and join their family in the US.
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