On July 11, 2012
Support is overwhelming, but the President has so far been silent, lifting no finger despite bipartisan support. Haitian American leaders held a June 26 Miami conference entitled, “Obama Fails Haitians?” after their similarly broadly-covered May 24 North Miami City Hall press conference expressing “frustration” and “disappointment” with the President for failing to do anything to help their approved families, now 30 months after Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.
Rep. Hastings’ letter follows
The Miami Herald‘s editorial, “Make families whole: President Obama should admit visa-approved Haitians to the U.S. – now,” its fourth urging the President to do this, began, “President Obama has failed to do the one thing in his power that could help lift Haiti out of the morass that has engulfed it since the January 2010 earthquake: Order the Department of Homeland Security to admit into the United States the thousands of Haitian nationals whom DHS already has approved for U.S. visas. He could expedite this orderly migration process immediately. It doesn’t take an act of Congress, literally. More than two years after an earthquake rocked an already struggling Haiti to its core, it’s baffling that he still has not directed DHS to act.” It continues, “Given the devastation that Haitians on the island still confront day in and day out, bringing the approved Haitians here sooner rather than later would relieve some of the pressure on scarce resources in the stressed nation; and it would help prevent tragedies such as the recent drowning of desperate people taking to the sea in rickety, overcrowded boats.” It concludes, “So why the double standard, Mr. Obama? Give the order, and help make Haitian families whole here and on the troubled island.” Click HERE.
16 editorials from the editorial boards of the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Antonio Express News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Star-Ledger, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Newsday have urged the President to do this.
The Florida State Senate; about 100 U.S. Congresspersons including Senators Scott Brown, Rubio, Cardin, Durbin, Gillibrand, Kerry, Leahy, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Bill Nelson, House Foreign Affairs Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and at least three other House Republicans; the city councils of New York, Philadelphia, and North Miami; the U.S. Conference of Mayors in two resolutions; Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and that state’s Black and Latino Legislative Caucus; 6,000 petitioners in a June letter to the President; the Center for Global Development, dozens of national organizations and many others have all urged the President to do this.
Haitian Americans in Florida have expressed their disappointment at the President’s failure to do anything at all to help their suffering DHS-approved families.
Hastings Urges President to Create Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
(Washington, DC) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) sent the following letter to President Obama urging the administration to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. This program would allow Haitians with approved family based visa petitions to come to the United States while awaiting their visas.
July 10, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I write to express strong support for the creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program that would allow Haitians with approved family based visa petitions to come to the United States while they await their visas.
As you know, there are approximately 112,000 Haitians with approved visa petitions who, because of arbitrary per country limits, are being forced to wait several years before they may legally join their families in the United States. Such a program is not unprecedented. In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security created a similar program for Cubans that has been renewed by your administration. I am simply asking that Haitians be afforded the same treatment.
Haiti is only beginning to recover from the 2010 earthquake and is still plagued by a stagnant economy, crumbling infrastructure, and poor health conditions. Rather than languishing in the earthquake ravaged nation, many of those who will benefit from a family reunification program would be able to work and send back remittances which are vital to Haiti’s recovery.
These individuals have already had their petitions approved and have family willing and able to support them when they arrive in the United States. Additionally, over 15,000 of them are children and spouses of legal permanent residents. The creation of this program requires no congressional action and stands to improve the lives of thousands of Haitians. It is simply unjust to expect them to wait out this process in what remains a country in crisis.
Once again, I urge you to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program so that the thousands of Haitians who have already been approved can join their families in the United States and actively assist in Haiti’s recovery. Thank you for consideration on this matter, and I look forward to working with you as we continue to assist our Haitian neighbors.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.
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