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Florida Haitians call for passage of family-based visas

It's been two years since an earthquake ravaged the small impoverished island of Haiti killing more than 250,000 men, women and children. Since that time, recovery has been slow in the third-world country, and many Haitians who live in Florida want visas allowing their relatives to come to the United States via the proposed family-based visa program known as the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

During President Obama's recent visit to Miami, several Haitians gathered to show their support for the family-based visa program that would allow Haitians who have relatives living in the United States entry into the country while they await a decision regarding their visa status.

President Obama's previous approval of similar programs for Cuban immigrants, has given rise to both hope and anger among Florida's Haitian population. Speaking on behalf of many area Haitians, Marlein Bastien, the executive director of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc. (FANM) / Haitian Women of Miami, believes the passage of the family-based visa program to be one of the best and most effective ways the United States can help Haiti recover from the devastating natural disaster.

Today, with little hope and nothing to lose, many Haitians continue to risk their lives by attempting to make the treacherous journey to the United States in small and unsafe boats. In fact, recently 13 Haitians died while attempting to make the dangerous voyage across the sea.

U.S. immigrants who have relatives in Haiti or Cuba and questions about the family-based visa program, may seek the guidance and assistance of a skilled immigration legal professional.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Haitians in Miami urge Obama to let family come to U.S. on parole visa program," Daniela Guzman, June 26, 2012

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