Earthquake survivors walk amidst collapsed buildings and rubble in downtown Port-Au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Pedro Pan Special

The Pierre Pans of Haiti

Fifty years ago, 14,048 Cuban children whose lives were rocked by a political earthquake in their homeland found passage to refuge in Miami thanks to the Catholic Church, the United States government and the famed Operation Pedro Pan.

Now, a similar rescue mission will be launched for the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Haitian children believed left orphaned by the massive earthquake that hit their country Tuesday.

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"We will use the model we used 50 years ago with Pedro Pan to bring these orphans to the United States to give them a lifeline, a bright and hopeful future," Catholic Legal Services executive director Randolph McGrorty said at a news conference in the offices of U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, where he disclosed the novel plan.

The idea to revive the operation came from Richard Turcotte, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami. He proposed it to Archbishop John C. Favalora, who immediately supported the plan.

At a second news conference at the offices of immigrant rights advocate Cheryl Little, McGrorty said the project is still in a "very preliminary stage" and may take several weeks to launch. He also said that by the middle of next week he may have additional details as Archdiocese officials turn over the plan to logistics experts in the Catholic Church.

A temporary shelter in Broward County has already been identified to immediately house the children, McGrorty said... (read more)

Get Involved

Now, the tragedy in Haiti is offering Pedro Pans a way to pay back - on the 50th anniversary of the start of the program that brought them to America.

In order to submit your information to the Haiti Pedro Pan volunteer group, please log in to the Pedro Pan network.

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