Haitian Family Reunification Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2014

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

Administration Announcement to Speed Haitian Family Reunification a Good First Step

Obama must do more to end years-long backlog for Haitian families still reeling from devastating earthquake

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced today that some Haitian family members stuck in the 12 year visa processing backlog would be able to join their families in the United States two years before their current approved entry date. This move could benefit several thousand Haitians who, in the aftermath of one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes, have faced increasingly dire situations while waiting to be reunited with their families. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Today’s announcement rightly recognizes that the United States can and should do more to ensure that Haitian families aren’t being forced to wait endlessly to be reunited with their loved ones. This is an important first step toward the policy solution Haitian-American and immigrants’ rights advocates have long called for: a robust Haitian family reunification parole program that ends the family reunification wait for up to 160,000 Haitians.

“Such a program has been used effectively in our recent past: Cuban entrants have benefitted from a similar program since 2007. Furthermore, doing the right thing for Haiti and Haitian families enjoys bipartisan support and has been recommended by more than 100 members of Congress.

“Nearly five years after the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, today’s announcement is welcome news. This victory comes after years of hard work and inspiring advocacy by the Haitian community in the United States, and their incredible work will change the lives of the thousands of people impacted by this policy change. President Obama should build upon this welcome news by delivering on his promise to enact bold administrative relief that would help keep Haitian immigrant families — and all immigrant families — together.”

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