PRESS RELEASE – For immediate Release
Contact: Lucie Oligario <email@example.com> at 973..371.0089
Haitian League Delegates Press White House and Congress to
Stop Deporting Haitians and Support a Package of
Sustained Economic Development for Haiti
On March 9-10, 2009, a six-member delegation of The Haitian League consisting of Bernier Lauredan, M.D., Placide Michel, Lucie Oligario , Wilby Louis, Frantz Bourget and youth representative j. Bourget, Jr. met at the White House with National Security Adviser, Dr. Catherine L. K. Helbling, and Mr. Luis Rossello, Acting Director, Hemispheric and Caribbean Affairs, and in Congress with Senators Bill Nelson [D-FL] and Jeff Bingaman [D-NM], and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. [D-MI]. The delegation spoke up for Haitian immigrants, thirty thousand of whom are currently threatened with deportation, and advanced a sustainable development package for Haiti that includes health, education, employment, housing, ecological restoration and renewable energy. Detailed slide shows on the plan were presented for discussion by Dr Lauredan, assisted by Mr. Frantz Bourget and Michel Placide.
Dr. Helbling told The Haitian League that the matter of Haitian immigrants is in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security. She said the President is aware of the groundswell to halt Haitian deportations until the economy and post-hurricane living conditions improve in Haiti. Helbling said the President is open to suggestions how to resolve their continued presence in the U.S. The League notes that Haitians are20only 0.25 percent of twelve million unauthorized immigrants, per Homeland Security statistics.
As for the sustainable development plan, Helbling welcomed The League?s presentation and asked for details as soon as possible. An international donors? meeting for Haiti is scheduled for mid-April in Washington, D.C. All major parties – United States, Canada, France, Spain, European Union, World Bank and InterAmerican Development Bank ? are preparing their plans.
On Capitol Hill, The League met with congressional staff members Dr. P. Jeffry Phan of Senator Bingaman?s office and Greta Lundberg and Tim Standaert of Senator Nelson?s office. Both senators have supported Haitian causes. The three told The League that Bingaman and Nelson agree that Haiti cannot now absorb tens of thousands of deportees, and therefore have formally requested Homeland Security to halt deportation proceedings. A decision is expected soon. As to an alternative economic development package, the staff requested the input of the League as soon as possible.
At the request of Cong. Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, three members of The League stayed an additional day in Washington to attend a special congressional members? discussion on future policies and programs for Haiti. The session was positive and fruitful. In particular, The League was invited to accompany a Congressional delegation to Haiti in early April and to help them prepare the two-day itinerary. – – – – – – –
Bernier Lauredan, MD