Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

The Obama administration is keeping Haitian families apart

Marleine Bastien and Steven Forester, The Grio August 1, 2013 It’s been 42 months — three and a half years — since Haiti’s calamitous January 12, 2010 earthquake killed hundreds of thousands and left a million destitute in the hemisphere’s poorest nation.  It was a hammer blow piling misery on misery. President Obama immediately promised leadership to help Haiti and an idea surfaced, broached by Republican Elliot Abrams in the Washington Post ten days after the quake and supported as effective and easy to implement by virtually everyone ever since: expedite entry into the United States of close relatives of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents on years-long wait lists in Haiti despite already having been approved to join their family members by the Department of Homeland Security. Editorial boards, think tanks and 100 members of Congress asked: “Why should already-approved beneficiaries have to wait years longer […]

Even After Obama’s Immigration Policy Change, Haitian families’ Dreams Deferred

Steven Forester, The Grio June 18, 2012 On Friday, President Obama appealed to Hispanic voters by protecting “DREAMers” from deportation.  But he has yet to address the dream of concerned Haitian Americans. On May 24, Haitian-American elected and community leaders held a press conference at North Miami City Hall to express their disappointment with the president for failing to expedite Haitian family reunification, despite bipartisan support for such relief dating back 29 months to Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.  Their disappointment was widely reported locally and could have national repercussions. The issue involves 112,000 beneficiaries of family-based visa petitions who, despite Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approvals, remain on 3 to 11-year waiting lists in Haiti, where many may not survive given the conditions there.  Expediting their entry into the United States has precedent and bipartisan support because it would save their lives […]

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