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Rep. Clarke Introduces the Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2010 (The H.E.L.P Act) Bill

Today, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke introduced the Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2010 (The H.E.L.P Act). This bill would allow an estimated 55,000 Haitians who already have approved immigration petitions to join their relatives in the United States.

“As a Representative of the second largest concentration of first and second generation Haitian immigrants, my office has been and continues to be inundated with families desperately trying to reunite with their loved ones directly affected by the devastation in Haiti,” stated Rep. Yvette D. Clarke. “My constituents are eager to reunite with their family members in Haiti, some of whom have been waiting for up to 11 years to enter the US because of backlogs. It is imperative that we keep families together during this time of crisis.”

The H.E.L.P. Act will:

•temporarily expand the V nonimmigrant visa category to include Haitians whose petition for a family-sponsored immigrant visa were approved on or before January 12, 2010; and

•increase State Department funds towards the processing of V visa applicants.

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

“I applaud Senator Gillibrand and Senator Menendez for working with me on this legislation. Their leadership in the Senate will push this legislation through Congress,” said Rep. Clarke.
The following members of the House joined me in proposing this critical legislation: Reps. Ed Towns (NY), Eliot Engel (NY), Charles Rangel (NY), Barbara Lee (CA), Del. Donna Christensen (VI), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI), Marcia Fudge (OH), Mike Honda (CA), and John Lewis (GA).

“I am grateful to my colleagues in the House for supporting the legislation as well as the advocacy groups that have announced their support,” added Rep. Clarke.

Organizations that support the HELP ACT include: America’s Voice Now; Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore MD; and Center for Community Change.

“It is my hope that this bill will provide an expedited pathway to family reunification, bringing peace of mind to Haitian families within our district. I am in the process of urging members of Congress to join me in this great opportunity to help Haiti and its people,” concluded Rep. Yvette Clarke.