Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement regarding the recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create in 2015 a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program in order to expedite the issuance of residency visas for those Haitians who have already been approved to join their family members in the United States, and whose visa priority dates will become current within two years. Complete information on the program is available through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“Due to annual caps, more than 100,000 Haitians with approved family-based petitions remain on waiting lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti. In creating a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program next year, the Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to reuniting Haitian families, saving lives, and accelerating Haiti’s recovery efforts following the devastating 2010 earthquake. This will not only help ensure that migration from Haiti is safe and legal, but strengthen Haitian families and provide them with greater opportunities to succeed.
“Throughout my lifetime of public service, I have always been committed to protecting the rights of Haitians. As a federal judge and now Member of Congress, I have worked over the past several decades to reverse the double-standard policies that so often confront our nation’s Haitian community. Most recently, on May 30, 2014, I was proud to send along with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and 61 other Members of Congress a letter to President Obama, urging him to direct DHS to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.
“I would like to thank my colleagues in the South Florida Congressional delegation, community leaders, and grassroots organizations in Haiti for their continued advocacy and support of this critically important program. It is my sincere hope that it will be expanded, so that all Haitians with approved petitions may join their families in the United States as soon as possible.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.