Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

January 11, 2013: Hastings on the Third Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake

(Fort Lauderdale) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) issued the following statement on the third anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010:

“On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by one of the largest earthquakes in its entire history, killing tens of thousands and causing immeasurable damage to its infrastructure. Within hours, the international community mobilized its resources and were on the ground to provide lifesaving aid to the Haitian people. Despite these laudable efforts, however, Haiti remains plagued by a stagnant economy, widespread poverty, and outbreaks of cholera. Furthermore, in the past year, a spring drought and two storms during hurricane season resulted in more than id=”mce_marker”70 million in crop losses, endangering an additional 1.5 million Haitians.

“Natural disasters are the world’s cruelest actions in their disregard for human life, as they do not discriminate or have any logic to the devastation that they cause. We cannot forget all those who are still struggling in the aftermath of the earthquake, and must continue to provide aid and assistance to our Haitian neighbors.

“Over the past year, I sent two letters to the Obama administration urging the President to work with the Department of Homeland Security to create 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. Approximately 112,000 Haitians with approved visa petitions are forced to languish in Haiti for years on end when they could instead be reunited with their family members in the United States, find work, and send back remittances to further aid in Haiti’s recovery.

“As we reflect on the third anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, let us also remember the commitment that we made together with the international community to stand by the Haitian people. Creating a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program would represent a significant step towards putting Haiti on the path to long-term recovery. I stand ready to assist President Obama in this endeavor, and pledge to continue doing everything in my power to support efforts that help the people of Haiti not only rebuild their country, but improve their lives.”

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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