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[Congressional Record: November 14, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E2038]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                          HON. CARRIE P. MEEK

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, November 14, 2002

  Mrs. MEEK of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I am today introducing a bill in 
Congress which will amend the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 to include 
Haitians as well.
  My bill, the Haitian Immigrant Equitable Adjustment Act of 2002, will 
provide the exact same legal rights to Haitian immigrants that Cuban 
immigrants have enjoyed for almost 40 years.
  Under my bill, the legal rights of Cuban immigrants would continue 
unchanged. But Haitian immigrants would finally have the same rights as 
Cubans, under the law.
  Like the Cuban Adjustment Act, my bill would allow Haitians who have 
been physically present in the United States for at least one year to 
adjust to permanent residence status at the discretion of the Attorney 
General. Like Cubans, Haitians would have to be eligible to receive an 
immigrant visa and be admissible into the United States as a permanent 
resident. Also as in the case of Cubans, spouses and children of the 
Haitians applying for this adjustment are also covered.
  Because there was no cut-off date or numerical limits for Cubans 
covered under the Cuban Adjustment Act, there would be no cut-off dates 
or numerical limitations for Haitians under my legislation.
  Since the Cuban Adjustment Act became law, the Attorney General has 
used his discretion to allow over 600,000 Cubans to become permanent, 
lawful residents of the United States--making it possible for them to 
eventually become U.S. citizens. During that period, over 400,000 
Haitians have come to the United States, but over half were returned to 
Haiti. Under my bill, these Haitians, like the Cubans, would be allowed 
to remain in this country.
  What made the Cuban Adjustment Act provisions take effect was the 
U.S. Attorney General's willingness to use existing authority to allow 
Cubans to legally enter the country. Once they entered legally, the law 
took its course. I call upon the Bush administrations--both in 
Tallahassee and in Washington--to treat Haitians exactly the same way 
that Cubans are treated.
  I have long sought to insure fairness for Haitians. In 1997, I 
introduced H.R. 3033, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act. The 
provisions of my bill became law in 1998. It allowed Haitians who were 
in the country at the end of 1995 and who were paroled into the 
country, filed for asylum, or who were orphaned children to receive 
green cards.
  I have also fought against the Bush administration's policy of 
indefinitely imprisoning Haitians who demonstrate a credible fear of 
persecution. This policy is, by any standard, unfair and 
  No other group of asylum seekers are treated this way. Non-Haitians 
are routinely released into their communities shortly following their 
initial asylum interviews and remain free throughout the adjudication 
process to meet with their counsels and prepare their strongest 
  There is no other group of asylum seekers to whom a blanket 
indefinite detention policy is applied. The Haitian people are the ones 
who suffer, and I will continue to do everything I can to end the 
unfair, unequal and discriminatory treatment they suffer at the hands 
of this administration.