This week, Congress gave final approval to the Help Haiti Act. This bill clears the path for citizenship for the over 1,000 Haitian orphans brought to the United States by adoptive families following Haiti’s devastating earthquake. The bill now awaits President Obama’s signature, which is expected.
A statement on the bill’s passage from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is below. (Although technically correct, the statements reference to the children being granted “permanent resident status” does not provide the fullest picture. As explained to me by McLane Layton, “The bill paves the way for citizenship, not permanent resident status. Technically, once the child receives permanent resident status, citizenship will attach immediately under the Child Citzenship Act so citizenship is actually the end result.”
“Today, the House passed the Help HAITI Act, an important piece of humanitarian legislation that continues America’s constructive response to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti early this year. Following the earthquake, more than 1,000 Haitian orphans were brought to the United States by adoptive American families; the bill we passed today ensures that those children, just like all other children adopted from abroad, will have permanent resident status. For the adoptive parents who generously took Haitian orphans into their homes, the guarantee of permanent resident status means that their children will enjoy a full range of legal protections and will no longer be stuck in legal limbo.