Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for January 20th, 2010

Not happening (at the moment)! Thousands of Haitian orphans not coming to Florida

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 20, 2010

I reported the other day that the Catholic Church in Florida was eager to repeat the controversial 1960’s  Operation Pedro Pan and airlift thousands of “orphans” from Haiti to Florida.

According to the Miami Herald, it isn’t going to happen.  The Haitian government wants to keep its kids!

Florida is unlikely to see a wave of Haitian children orphaned by last week’s killer earthquake, as Haitian and U.S. leaders do not favor a recreation of the famed 1960s Pedro Pan effort that rescued thousands of children from communist Cuba, the state’s top social service administrator said Tuesday.

“The Haitian civil government is starting to reemerge,” said Florida Department of Children & Families Secretary George Sheldon, who has been meeting with state, county and federal leaders for several days to coordinate refugee resettlement efforts.

“The desire of the Haitian people, to the extent that this can be done, is for the children to be cared for in Haiti,” Sheldon added. “That is their preference.”

Florida and U.S. government leaders, Sheldon added, are also reluctant to airlift hundreds or thousands of orphans because of concerns that children who lived through the earthquake may be too fragile to withstand being uprooted from their homeland.

“These children who have gone through the earthquake have suffered a tremendous trauma,” Sheldon said. “To move them now to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and do not have families would be to re-traumatize them.

Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, reiterated the Catholic church’s offer to help spearhead a Pedro Pan-like rescue effort. 

Supposedly only kids that were previously (before the earthquake) assigned to American adoptive parents can leave, see my previous post here for details.

Currently, only children with valid adoption papers or in the process of being adopted by a U.S. family are entering the United States, Homeland Security officials said.

One flight carrying 54 children bound for adoptive families in Pennsylvania landed at Orlando Sanford International Airport early Tuesday before departing for Pittsburgh at about 7 a.m., Sheldon said. The children had been living in an orphanage run by two Pittsburgh-area sisters.

Another flight with 16 children landed in Port St. Lucie, Sheldon said. The children will remain in the Treasure Coast overnight as they await their prospective parents.

The Miami Herald references Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s potentially precedent-setting trip to Haiti where he brought 53 orphans to Pittsburgh* of all places.   How many other attention-getting gambits will we see from politicians now that Rendell has done it?  And, check this out, I never would have believed it, but CNN’s Anderson Cooper criticized the Rendell rescue, here.

Currently, only children with valid adoption papers or in the process of being adopted by a U.S. family are entering the United States, Homeland Security officials said.

One flight carrying 54 children bound for adoptive families in Pennsylvania landed at Orlando Sanford International Airport early Tuesday before departing for Pittsburgh at about 7 a.m., Sheldon said. The children had been living in an orphanage run by two Pittsburgh-area sisters.

Another flight with 16 children landed in Port St. Lucie, Sheldon said. The children will remain in the Treasure Coast overnight as they await their prospective parents.

At least someone is making sense!    US Ambassador Kenneth Merten said we need to be sure that in our eagerness to scoop up the “orphans” we don’t separate children from their families.

U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten said the U.S. Embassy in Haiti is spending a lot of time processing adoption papers for orphans.

“We are trying to move legitimate orphans out of here as fast as we possibly can,” he said. “We need to get Haitian government authority for that, but . . . people need to understand we are trying to protect adoptive parents in the United States to make sure the child that ends up on their doorsteps . . . is the child they have developed a relationship with down here.”

He said the embassy also is trying to ensure children aren’t mistakenly separated from their parents and labeled as orphans.

That is it for today, check back tomorrow to see if the Obama Administration has caved.  You can bet they are being lobbied by the Left (the Religious Left too!) to reverse themselves and open the flood gates.

* Pittsburgh!  We have written many posts in recent months about how Pittsburgh is overloaded with refugees, some being evicted from apartments.  Refugee agencies there are already overwhelmed.  Here is just one of many posts on the subject.

Posted in Haiti, Other refugees, Refugee Resettlement Program | 3 Comments »

Official announcement on the Haitian orphan issue

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 20, 2010

Check out this press statement by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano two days ago on the Administration’s position on humanitarian parole for Haitian “orphans” here.

On Jan. 18, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), today announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week’s earthquake.

DHS and DOS are working together to issue travel documents (either immigrant visas or humanitarian parole authorizations) for children who fall into the two categories described below. Once these children are cleared to travel, the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince will facilitate their evacuation to the United States so they may be united with their American adoptive parents.

Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian are subject to special procedures regarding their custody and care. DHS coordinates with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement on the cases of these unaccompanied minors.

All cases will be evaluated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on their circumstances, and information available some children will receive immigrant visas with permanent immigration status and will require no further processing. Those who enter under humanitarian parole status will need to have their immigration status resolved after arrival.

Read the whole announcement for more information on who is and who isn’t eligible.

Posted in Haiti, Refugee Resettlement Program | 2 Comments »

Atlanta refugee agency getting ready for Haitians

Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 20, 2010

We have written previously that Atlanta is overloaded with refugees, but according to this article more could be on the way—-asylum seekers, children and parolees from Haiti.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Atlanta could be a destination for tens of thousands of American being evacuated from the devastated island, and several agencies say it could also be a destination for Haitian children.

The Georgia Department of Human Services is looking for French- or Creole-speaking families to host Haitian children.*

The Atlanta chapter of the nonprofit International Rescue Committee, which works with immigrants, is rallying their French- or Creole-speaking volunteers and their legal staff. Executive Director Ellen Beattie said the organization will help Haitians who are here legally to apply for extensions to their U.S. stays. The federal government has given the go-ahead to the extension program.

“We have been alerted by our state refugee coordinator that Hartsfield will be a significant point of entry for [Americans] who may be repatriated as well as Haitians seeking parole and asylum and protection,” Beattie said.

* On this issue of the children.  I know the mainstream media is getting all warm and fuzzy about such actions as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s the other day when he held up other planes at the one functional airport in Haiti while he picked up two planeloads of “orphans” to take to PA ( I am assuming at PA taxpayer expense).   I saw a quick newsclip (I will see if I can find it) of Haiti’s President warning that you (Americans) just can’t pick up kids on Haitian streets to take to the US for adoption.  They might still have parents and other relatives who want them.

Incidentally, on this Rendell rescue adventure, someone told me yesterday that all of the children taken to Pennsylvania did not have adoptive parents waiting and were going into the foster care system.  If anyone sees that reported somewhere please post it as a comment, or e-mail me at Ann@vigilantfreedom.com and send a link.

More information here:  For a definition of Parole, go here.   For a good review of Asylum, go here (a pdf document).  Note that when reviewing that document, according to figures in 2008, Haiti already was the third highest sender of asylum seekers entering the US behind China at #1 and Columbia at #2.

Posted in Asylum seekers, Haiti, Refugee Resettlement Program | 2 Comments »

 
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