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Policy solutions for Haiti

January 19, 2010, 3:32 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced Friday that the US will grant temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants who are currently awaiting deportation. This welcome announcement follows a groundswell of advocacy by, among others, faith groups such as Catholics United. The National Catholic Reporter stated that

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a letter to President Barack Obama released minutes before Napolitano’s teleconference that by offering protected status to Haitians they “would be better able to assist their families in Haiti through remittances and by working together as a community to garner other resources for their stricken homeland.”

in light of the staggering loss of life and ongoing suffering, it’s easy to overlook policy changes like this that make a concrete difference for thousands of Haitians. On a related note, the call for debt forgiveness for Haiti is gaining steam among governments, NGOs and faith groups. Given the crushing weight of Haiti’s debt (and wealthy nations’ partial responsibility for its accrual), the destruction of their infrastructure and the intense humanitarian needs in the wake of the earthquake, such measures are urgently needed.

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