March 9, 2010 LETTER — LIRS Applauds the Introduction of the HELP Act of 2010

Press Contact: Fabio Lomelino, Assistant Director for Media Relations
410-230-2721, lirspress@lirs.org

March 9, 2010

The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Yvette D. Clarke
U.S. House of Representatives
1029 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Gillibrand and Representative Clarke:

On behalf of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), the national agency established by Lutheran churches in the United States to carry out the churches’ ministry with uprooted people, I applaud you for introducing the Haitian Emergency Life Protection (H.E.L.P.) Act of 2010, S. 2998/H.R. 4616.

For years, LIRS has advocated for the protection of vulnerable Haitians in the United States. After the January 12 earthquake, LIRS and our constituents immediately called for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians residing in the United States. We were pleased to see the administration grant TPS a few days later. We have also briefed congressional staff on the protection needs of Haitian children and the proactive ways the government can respond to Haitian migration to the United States.

The H.E.L.P. Act addresses many of our concerns about the need to speed up the reunification of Haitian families in the aftermath of the earthquake. The H.E.L.P. Act would expedite family reunification of Haitians with approved family visa petitions through safe and orderly migration channels and help to mitigate spontaneous and dangerous maritime migration. Moreover, allowing some Haitian family members to work in the United States will ensure a flow of remittances toHaitito supplement ongoing rebuilding efforts.

LIRS applauds your leadership on this important issue and looks forward to working with you to garner support for this legislation.

Sincerely,

Linda Hartke

President, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service