Haiti Suspends Flights of Orphans Out of Haiti

As the UPI reported this morning, the Haitian government has suspended flights of orphans out of Haiti.  This apparently includes flights of children previously approved to travel under the agreement between the U.S. and Haitian governments that allowed an expedited travel-approval process for children previously matched for adoption with American families.  According to the Miami Herald, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says he has issued an order that children cannot be released for adoption without his personal approval.

However, on a call with U.S. government officials this morning, it was explained that this order is not a permanent change in policy.  Rather, it represents a precautionary measure taken following reports that some orphans had been illegally taken out of the country to the Dominican Republic and possibly elsewhere.  The halt in flights was ordered so that further assurances can be made that no child that has not been authorized for travel is taken out of the country.  U.S. officials believe that flights of orphans will resume by early next week if not before.

Also mentioned on the call—while firm statistics are not yet available—officials described the number of Haitian orphans who meet the standards for expedited processing (i.e. previously matched with a U.S. family) at “more than 500” with “several hundred” transported to the U.S. already  and “hundreds more” yet to travel.