Originally: Legislation targets Haiti
WASHINGTON — Here are some of the bills that have been introduced in Congress to assist Haiti, one of the most impoverished nations in the Western Hemisphere, and Haitians seeking to immigrate to the United States:
A bill by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., that would provide an unspecified amount of money for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers to build roads, create water-treatment systems and develop sewage systems in Haiti. The bill also would create a Peace Corps-like pilot program that would allow American doctors, scientists, and engineers to do development work in Haiti in partnership with Haitian nongovernmental organizations, USAID and the Corps of Engineers.
Another bill by Lee that amounts to a political statement encouraging Congress and the Bush administration to pressure the Inter-American Development Bank to make $146 million in low-interest loans to Haiti to improve its public health system, education and rural roads and increase its supply of drinking water. The loans were supposed to be disbursed in 2001.
Legislation drafted by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., that would urge the Inter-American Development Bank to immediately resume lending to Haiti, help Haiti pay its arrears and consider forgiving some of its previous loans to Haiti.
Another bill by Waters that would add Haiti to the list of poor countries whose debts to the United States and other countries are in line for reduction. The poor countries also would not have to make economic changes that often involve cutting government services.
A proposal by Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Fla., that would make more Haitians eligible to become U.S. residents. The bill also would benefit Haitian children who became adults waiting for their parents to become residents. Those Haitians would be considered for residency based on their age in 1998.
Another bill drafted by Meek that would prevent U.S. immigration officials from indefinitely detaining immigrant children seeking asylum. Those children would have to be released to family members or a qualified foster home within 15 days. Meek’s office said he proposed the measure to benefit Haitian children.