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Letter to President Barack Obama, President Of The United States


Location: Paterson, NJ

Pascrell Supports Effort To Protect Haitian Refugees From Deportation To Inhumane Conditions In Country Ravaged By Natural Disaster

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today announced that he has joined a Congressional effort to protect Haitian immigrants from being deported to Haiti where flooding and hurricanes have left inhumane and unlivable conditions.

Pascrell joined twenty-five members of Congress in a letter to President Obama requesting that the White House reconsider a Department of Homeland Security policy that would deport 30,000 Haitian immigrants to a country ravaged by natural disasters.

A copy of the letter is attached and the text follows:

May 19, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The Department of Homeland Security's plan to deport 30,000 Haitian immigrants is a Bush Administration policy that is ill-advised and untimely. We ask you to reconsider this policy before sending these refugees back to a country that has no economic means to support them.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and it has furthermore been ravaged by natural disasters during the last year. The impact of hurricanes and floods has been devastating to the Haitian economy and has resulted in an unprecedented level of suffering requiring emergency assistance for the people of Haiti. To send an additional 30,000 people back to a country that already has close to a million displaced individuals is un-American and inhumane and we could never support such a policy.

These Haitian nationals have no viable country to return to - many acknowledge that Haiti is still in a state of chaos. The UN estimates that the lives of approximately 800,000 have been affected or displaced by the hurricanes. Based on the current global economic climate, we can expect that a loss of remittances will easily push that number close to a million. The little infrastructure the country once had is now in need of repairs and rebuilding of major bridges. The loss of crops was also a major consequence of the storms with a resulting rise of energy and food prices which brought great hardship and food riots to the people. This is clearly a humanitarian effort and it is our formal request that these Haitian immigrants are granted Temporary Protective Status (TPS).

TPS is a concession that has routinely been given to immigrants from different countries which were hit by natural disasters. Central American countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras have been given TPS status for years, even as recent as 2008. This is inconsistent with the treatment given to Haitian immigrants despite the fact that economic and social conditions are worse, in addition to the reality that the country has not overcome the recent floods and hurricanes.

We ask that you investigate these allegations to determine why the Haitian immigrants are treated differently from other immigrants given the same circumstances. We are certain once the time and effort is taken to investigate the challenges that Haiti continues to face, the right decisions will be made and immediate action will be taken on this matter.


Charles B. Rangel
Member of Congresss

Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

Bill Pacrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

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