Implement a Fair and Just Haitian Family Reunification Program for all DHS-Approved Families
Since January 12, 2010, when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti killed 250,000 and left millions homeless, the Obama administration has been urged to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP) to provide expedited entry to the U.S. for about 110,000 people who have family-based petitions approved by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including thousands of children. This would mean an end to the extensive wait lists of up to over 12 years in Haiti, allowing these families to be together and provide relief from the effects of the earthquake and aid in the ongoing recovery. The Reunite Haitian-American Families Campaign achieved a partial victory on October 17th announced creation of a limited HFRP to begin in early 2015. This is a good first step, but it will apply to only a small percentage of the approved beneficiaries and their families, and it is not clear how it will be implemented.
We are asking you to join us in calling for immediate implementation of an expanded HFRP program that will include allof the DHS-approved Haitian beneficiaries, not merely a small subset, and which will be implemented in a way that is fair, just and inclusive. The long waitinglists and slow recovery are human rights and immigrant rights issues that mustbe addressed. Haitians contribute immensely to the social, cultural, political,and economic fabric of the United States of America, and immediateimplementation of an inclusive HFRP program is the right thing to do.
To: Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security
From: [Your Name]
Dear Secretary Johnson,
Thank you for announcing creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP). We urge you to expand its coverage to include all approved beneficiaries and to implement it promptly and with maximum effectiveness.
On October 17, after nearly five years of advocacy, Haitian-Americans, lawmakers, immigrant justice and human rights advocates were encouraged by DHS’s announcement of HFRP’s creation. But we are extremely concerned about the limited scope of the program as announced; with eligibility unnecessarily limited to beneficiaries whose visa priority dates will become current within two years, excluding most DHS-approved beneficiaries. We are writing to urge you to expand HFRP to include all DHS-approved Haitian beneficiaries. A fair, just and inclusive program will save lives, reunite families, and importantly help Haiti recover. To these ends, we urge the following:
1. HFRP eligibility be extended to all of the nearly 110,000 beneficiaries of DHS-approved family-based visa petitions.
2. Swift implementation with no unnecessary delays or further waiting periods.
3. No application fee, as under the Cuban FRP, to preclude cumulative fees and expenses from rendering the program cost-prohibitive, which would defeat its purpose to save lives and help Haiti recover.
4. Full funding, staffing and capacity of the necessary agencies for the program to maximize its effectiveness in expeditiously processing as many eligible parolees as possible.
5. Thorough, proactive and culturally appropriate outreach to families to fully inform them of HFRP’s existence and requirements.
Since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed 250,000 people and left millions homeless, recovery in Haiti has been slow and many aid efforts ineffective. Expanding HFRP’s coverage to benefit all DHS-approved beneficiaries will help bolster the recovery efforts and alleviate the added strain from families doubly impacted by the post-quake conditions that have been waiting many years to be reunited.
Haitians contribute immensely to the social, cultural, political, and economic fabric of the United States. Reunification strengthens the well-being of these American families and their communities, strained by years of separation and the effects of the earthquake. Expediting these paroles will save lives and help Haiti, serving our national security interest given Haiti’s proximity to our shores. We therefore urge you to expand HFRP eligibility to include all DHS-approved beneficiaries, regardless of when their visa priority dates will become current, and to implement it promptly, fairly, and with sufficient funding, staffing and capacity to maximize its effectiveness in paroling the greatest number of eligible beneficiaries as expeditiously as possible.
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