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.
October 4, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
In a letter dated July 10, 2012, I urged you 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. Since that time, your administration has renewed Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, yet has failed to provide a response explaining the lack of a family reunification program.
As the extension of TPS shows, Haiti is far from recovering from the January 2010 earthquake and remains plagued by a stagnant economy, crumbling infrastructure, and poor health conditions. Yet, there are approximately 112,000 Haitians with approved visa petitions who are forced to languish in Haiti for no other reason than arbitrary per country limits. These individuals have already had their petitions approved and have family willing and able to support them upon their arrival in the United States. In addition to simply being able to leave the island, they would also be able to work and send back remittances to further aid in Haiti's recovery.
Such a program is not unprecedented, as Cubans currently benefit from a similar program created in 2007 by the Department of Homeland Security and renewed by your administration. Additionally, it requires no congressional action and stands to improve the lives of thousands of Haitians. It is simply the right thing to do.
Once again, I urge you to direct your administration 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 work to actively assist in Haiti's recovery. Thank you for your consideration of this matter, and I look forward to your response.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress