The readers’ forum

Create long-delayed Haitian family-reunification program


Jacqueline Charles’ excellent Jan. 28 article, Deadly voyages devastate Haitian island, underscores the need to fix a flawed policy. The Department of Homeland Security has approved family-based visa petitions for 110,000 Haitians on years-long wait lists in Haiti. President Obama should speed their entry.

Since the 2010 quake, creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP) has been urged by 100 members of Congress, 10 editorial boards including the Miami Herald’s, the Miami-Dade County Commission, the New York, Philadelphia and North Miami city councils, the American Bar Association, the NAACP, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Congressional Black Caucus, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 6,000 petitioners and others.

Obama surrogates promised Haitian-American Floridians that he would expedite these paroles if reelected, but despite the merits, bipartisan pleas and the ease of implementation, he hasn’t.

Creating a Haitian FRPP would save lives: The 110,000 people approved by DHS are at risk in Haiti, whose misery includes a worsening cholera epidemic. They’d be safer with their petitioning American family members in communities that are not only in Florida.

Reuniting them would help Haiti, too. Augmenting the U.S. Treasury with large work-permit application fees, these employed Haitians would start sending remittances home; Haitians remit about $2 billion annually.

Thousands enter the United States under the ongoing FRPP for Cubans. Nationals of both lands risk their lives at sea, many Haitians dying during the horrific voyages that Charles documented. Creating a Haitian FRPP would end a double standard.

It would relieve at least some of the pressure leading to these tragedies. And Haitians under this program wouldn’t get a green card sooner — there’d be no “line jumping.” But they could wait for them in safety, like Cuban parolees, not in devastated Haiti.

Why the inaction? Obama hasn’t said, but there is no conflict between seeking congressional immigration reform and administratively expediting these paroles to save lives and help Haiti, whose recovery is in our national security interest given its proximity to our shores.

The president should instruct DHS to promptly create a Haitian FRPP, as the Herald and others have long urged.

Marleine Bastien,

executive director, Haitian Women

of Miami, Miami

Steven Forester, immigration policy coordinator, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Miami

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Can’t blame LeBron

    LeBron James knew he could not win a ring in Cleveland, so he brought his talents to South Beach. You can’t blame him for that. It was terrible for his hometown. He accomplished his dream and gave Miami and Florida a great ride.

  • Obama can’t win

    Hundreds of children are voluntarily turning themselves in to the U.S. Border Patrol, at the Mexican border. They actively seek out the Border Patrol to turn themselves in. They present no violent threat that requires additional armed personnel to protect the Public Safety.

  • Where’s Israeli peace?

    I read with dismay the letter from Audrey Bomse, of Jewish Voice for Peace, which suggested that the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank was the way to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category