This article describes a couple who were part of just a small Haitian community when they first moved to Fort Pierce, FL. Now, the growing population of Haitians will likely grow even more as the Obama administration has agreed to implement a Haitian Family reunification program starting in 2015. IJDH Immigration Policy Coordinator Steve Forester, and others, describe why this program is so important for both Haiti and the US.
An excerpt is below. Click HERE for the full text.
More Haitians make Tampa Bay area their home
José Patiño Girona, The Tampa Tribune
October 26, 2014
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will oversee the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to more quickly unify Haitians who are here and their families who stayed behind.
The program makes it easier for Haitians living in the United States who are legal citizens or legal permanent residents to petition to have their relatives come legally to the U.S. The change, long lobbied for by Haitian advocates, makes it easier for Haitian relatives to come to the United States, but the process still will be slower than many Haitians would like.
Once a petition is approved, the relatives still will usually remain in Haiti under a waiting period for two to 12 years, said Steven Forester, immigration policy coordinator for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.
Haitians approved under the new program will be able to receive work permits. Advocates expect many will send money back to Haiti to help relatives there, many of whom are still suffering from the 2010 earthquake, Forester said.
“These people are coming anyway,” Forester said. “Family reunification is the backbone of our entire immigration system.”
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