Haitian-American Elected Officials Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification

Haitian-American Elected Officials, Families and Allies Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification, Redesignate TPS, Stop Deportations and Release 6,000 Detainees!
Mayor, Dr. Smith Joseph Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification

Mayor, Dr. Smith Joseph

MIAMI – City of North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph and State Senator Daphne Campbell will be joined by North Miami Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme, Councilman Philippe Bien-Aime, North Miami Beach Councilman Frantz Pierre and others to ask President Obama to free 6,000 Haitian refugees, redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status based on Hurricane Matthew and expand the arbitrarily limited Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

“Haiti on October 4 was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which killed over 1,000 Haitians and nearly destroyed the entire southern peninsula, spiking cholera cases and affected two million people even as the political situation worsened. Deportations to Haiti were and are unsafe,” said Mayor Smith Joseph.

We ask President Obama and Secretary Johnson to release our brothers and sisters, and let them spend Christmas with loved ones,” added Vice-Mayor Alix Desulme.

Marleine Bastien

Marleine Bastien

“This year, Human Rights Day was held on December 10 and calls on everyone to stand up for people’s rights! We are standing as one for Haitians’ basic human rights of due process. It is unconceivable that we are still at this level, having to fight for basic rights and equal treatment for Haitian refugees. It feels like we are going back 30 years!

Why are Haitians singled out for discriminatory treatment? Why?,” says Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM Ayisyen Nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami).

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s pre-Matthew statement that conditions in Haiti had “improved sufficiently to permit the U.S. government to remove Haitian nationals on a more regular basis” was inaccurate, unsupported by economic or political facts, and flew in the face of Haiti’s cholera epidemic.

Haiti was even then unable to receive, house, feed, or employ prospective deportees. But the October 4th impact of Hurricane Matthew – precisely the kind of catastrophe for which TPS was designed – affected two million Haitians, added to the Haitian government’s overwhelming challenges, and quadruply rendered deportations to Haiti unsafe.

Deportations, which DHS has been conducting since November 3rd, add to Haiti’s troubles and threaten to further destabilize the nation; they also are bad for U.S. national security.

Haiti has not recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake, nor from Matthew and remains in political turmoil as well.

Meanwhile the cholera epidemic, worsened by Matthew, has killed 10,000 and sickened nearly a million, and the UN has barely begun fundraising efforts to address it.

Over 100,000 have succeeded under DHS’s Cuban Family Reunification Program, but only 1,952 under its Haitian Family Reunification Program. That’s because DHS has arbitrarily restricted coverage to Haitians already within three years of getting their visas, although the waiting list for approved Haitians extends to 13 years.

President Obama should order DHS to expand coverage to the outer years so that the program’s stated goals of creating an orderly outflow mechanism and helping Haiti recover by generating additional remittances will be met, as well as the goal of fundamental fairness.

“President Obama should expand the severely-limited Haitian Family Reunification Program and redesignate Haiti for TPS immediately. There is no good reason for DHS’s failure to do these important things, both of which would reunite families and help Haiti recover,” said Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) Immigration Policy Coordinator Steven Forester.

We call on the Obama administration to act while it still can to do right by Haiti, Haitian Americans, and all who value justice and equal treatment.

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