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Rep. Clarke Joins Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Congressional Delegation to Haiti

Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke joined House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) on a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Haiti. The delegation traveled to Haiti this morning and returned to the U.S. this afternoon. Members met with the President of Haiti, Jean Preval, at the National Palace.

“It is an honor to join our Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and my colleagues to assess the situation on the ground in Haiti. Seven months after the earthquake it is clear that there is much to be done as this nation continues to recover,” stated Rep. Clarke. “As a representative of the second largest Haitian immigrant population, it was important for me to review the situation on the ground firsthand and evaluate the progress of the recovery efforts.”

“I wanted to bring a bipartisan delegation to Haiti to assess the conditions on the ground and see what impact U.S. aid is having to provide medical relief and start rebuilding,” said Hoyer. “The destruction and suffering we saw in Haiti was striking, but so was the spirit of their people. We remain committed to providing assistance as Haiti continues to recover from the tragic earthquake that took the lives of so many.”

Other Members of Congress on the delegation included: Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Congressman David Price (D-NC), Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).

Rep. Clarke also met with Ambassador Ken Merten and officials at the U.S. Embassy to discuss ongoing rebuilding efforts and U.S. assistance to the Haitian people. Members saw a displaced persons camp and damage to the capitol of Haiti.

Rep. Clarke has introduced vital legislative initiatives and has advocated for critical programs d to bring forth a stabilized and prosperous Haiti, including:

•introduced H.R. 4961, The Haitian Private Sector Encouragement Act of 2010, which establishes the Haitian-American Enterprise Development Fund, encouraging sustainable economic development through loans and equity investments in small and medium-sized indigenous businesses;
•introduced the Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2010 (the HELP Act), which would allow the estimated 55,000 Haitians who obtained approved immigration petitions to join their relatives in the United States while they wait for their green cards;
•supported increased funding for the proposed Haitian Diaspora Young Professionals Fellowship Program to ensure that more Haitians living in the United States and across the globe can participate in the development of their homeland;
•robust funding for the reunification of Haitian families and children services; and
•funding to protect women against gender based violence in tent cities and promote gender equality in Haiti.

“The success and prosperity of Haiti directly affects the Haitian Diaspora, Brooklyn residents and the U.S. as a whole. Let us never forget that as we unite with the people of Haiti, Haitian-Americans and the Haitian Diaspora to assist with the development of this great nation, we are forever guided by the words etched indelibly on the Haitian flag, ‘L’Union fait la force’ …through unity, there is strength!” concluded Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.