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U.S.: Haitian Orphans Allowed to Enter Temporarily

Secretary Napolitano has announced a humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans.

Ruth Fremson | The New York Times

A woman gives an infant girl water distributed by soldiers with the 82nd Airborne under a makeshift tent on the grounds of the Petionville Club outside of Port Au Prince, Haiti on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Thousands of Haitians crammed onto rickety school buses and the backs of trucks to flee the ravaged capital on Monday in an uncertain quest for shelter, fresh water and stability in the countryside.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after January 12's earthquake in Port-au-Prince.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help reunite families in Haiti during this very difficult time,” said Secretary Napolitano. “While we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here.”

Humanitarian parole into the United States may be granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to bring otherwise inadmissible individuals into the country on account of urgent humanitarian reasons or other emergencies. The humanitarian parole policy announced by Secretary Napolitano will be applied on a case-by-case basis to the following children:

Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens. Children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.

Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian will be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement

The announcement expands the humanitarian relief that the U.S. Government is extending to Haitians in response to the devastation caused by the earthquake. Last week, Secretary Napolitano announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals who were physically present in the United States as of Jan. 12, 2010 -- allowing eligible Haitian nationals to continue living and working in the United States for the next 18 months. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after the earthquake would not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated

DHS encourages U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send us detailed information about their cases to HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov.

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