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Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Continues to Fight for Haiti

Rep. Clarke Supports Help HAITI ACT of 2010

Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on the House Floor in support of H.R. 5283, the Help HAITI Act of 2010:

“Madame Speaker, I rise today as a proud cosponsor of H.R. 5283, the Help Haiti Act of 2010, introduced by my colleague Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. This bill normalizes the immigration procedures for certain adopted Haitian orphans that received humanitarian parole between January 18, 2010 and April 15, 2010. It allows their adoptive families, who are U.S. citizens, to apply immediately on their behalves to become legal permanent residents and eventually qualify for citizenship.

“As the Representative of the second largest population of first and second generation Haitian immigrants, Haiti has been at the core of my Caribbean agenda. That is why I am extremely concerned that more than 1,000 paroled Haitian orphans being adopted by American families remain in immigration limbo due to a legal technicality. At least 50 orphans reside in my district alone.

“It is alarming that these children have to wait two years before they are granted legal permanent residency. If this situation is not addressed, these children will remain in this country without certain legal protections and are in jeopardy of being separated from their adoptive family and deported back to Haiti where they have no family.

“The legal technicality that put these kids in such a precarious position is yet another example of why our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform. That is why I am committed to working with my colleagues to make immigration reform a reality as soon as possible. Our national security is at stake; our moral standing in the world depends on it; and the American people, many of whom are first and second generation immigrants, demand it. I urge Congress to take a fresh look at the antiquated policies and bureaucratic backlogs that tear families apart and devastate our communities.

“Finally, I commend Congressman Fortenberry and Senator Gillibrand for addressing this issue and their continued support for the people of Haiti. Thank you Madame Speaker and I yield back the balance of my time.”