CLINIC Urges Special Protections for Haitian Children & Families
Washington, DC – The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has joined four national and international social service organizations in urging special protections for Haitian children and families affected by the January 12 earthquake in that country.
In a February 4 letter to Cabinet Secretaries Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano, CLINIC, along with Catholic Relief Services, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration & Refugee Services, Catholic Charities USA and the International Catholic Migration Commission, recommended special protections for Haitian children and their families.
As the nation’s largest network of legal services organizations, CLINIC is particularly concerned that Haitians who have family members in the United States be reunited with them as quickly as possible, through expedited processing of applications and expanded humanitarian parole measures.
“In the wake of the catastrophe, we must ensure that sincere efforts are made at family reunification for the Haitian children and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This includes accelerating final processing of approved immigration petitions and extending humanitarian parole into the U.S. for those whose applications still await approval due to current backlogs in family immigration,” said CLINIC Executive Director Maria M. Odom.
Included in the organizations’ other recommendations to the Secretaries are other efforts to protect Haitian children, including:
- the establishment of safe havens in Haiti so children can be assured protection and security while their needs are assessed;
- assignment of child welfare experts to determine the best interests of the children;
- continued use of family tracing mechanisms to ensure that children are reunited with family members whenever possible; and
- where necessary, placement of children in foster care in the United States, with access to programs and services usually available to refugees.
In addition to its advocacy on behalf of Haitian children and families, CLINIC’s response to this tragedy includes providing training and support to its member agencies assisting Haitians in the United States with legal services, including applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
CLINIC welcomes your thoughts and comments. When leaving comments please stay on topic and be respectful of others. CLINIC reserves the right to remove posted content that is defamatory.