Snap Fact #114

President Obama and Congress United To Help Haitian Orphans!
Congress passed the Help Haiti Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 8, 2010 by the President. This act showed the support of the United States for it's multi-challenged neighbor Haiti. The Act was signed almost a year after Haiti was shaken to it's roots by the devastating 7.0 earthquake that dealt the already impoverished country a mortal blow. The Act was introduced by Republican Representative Fortenberry from Nebraska. 

The program is supervised under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It gives legal permanent residence status to about 1200 orphaned Haitian children who had entered the U.S. under the Haitian Orphan Parole Program soon after the quake. These orphans eventually will receive their green cards and become legal permanent residents in the United States according to the Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to 
Integrate Act signed by the President on Dec. 9, 2010. The original bill took a long time to work its way through Congress. Representative Fortenberry and others worked hard to get it passed. It finally won passage in the house on July 20th by a voice vote and was passed on to the Senate for action. Two weeks later the Senate also passed the bill but there were changes from the House version. It was not until December 1st that the House agreed to the Senate's changes and again passed the bill by a voice vote. The President quickly signed the bill into law.

This bill grants no special considerations to the children but rather places them on the same path to citizenship enjoyed by all other internationally adopted children. Using Humanitarian Parole to unite children with their adoptive families was a true act of bipartisan humanitarianism fashioned during the Obama administration, even with both sides of the resistive Congress using this seemingly simple and well-intentioned Act as a political tool.