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USCIS Responds to Haiti Earthquake

Effective immediately, toll free live assistance at 1-800-375-5283 has been extended until 11pm local time. This is a temporary change in response to the situation in Haiti.

 

January 15, 2010 (5:00pm EST) - Statement By Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.

“At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way.  The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti’s future.

“It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.

“The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy to our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts.

Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283.”

 

January 15, 2010 - Statement By Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy for our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts. On Wednesday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement halted all removals to Haiti for the time being in response to the devastation caused by Tuesday’s earthquake. The entire Department stands ready to receive evacuees safely and securely in the United States.

“Monetary contributions from individual Americans are the best way to immediately support the relief efforts of those who are working around-the-clock to help save lives in Haiti—and will help sustain these efforts over the long-term. The rebuilding process for the people of Haiti will undoubtedly be extremely difficult. I encourage every American who is interested in giving to participate in this response effort by providing support to those in need. You can visit www.whitehouse.gov/haitiearthquake to make your contribution.”

 

January 13, 2010 - Statement By Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

President Obama spoke this morning, extending "deep condolences and unwavering support of the American people" to Haiti, and committing the resources of the Federal government "to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives."

Secretary Napolitano released a statement shortly after the President's remarks:

"The entire Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extends its sympathy for the devastation and loss of life in Haiti following last night's earthquake--a disaster that has called the world to action in response. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are leading DHS actions to support the larger assistance effort. Several Coast Guard cutters and aircraft have mobilized and are on the ground to assist the humanitarian effort as needed. FEMA has been in close contact with the State Department and USAID, the lead U.S. federal response agencies, and stands ready to provide assistance as requested. I am being kept closely apprised of the developing situation, and the Department will continue to support the people of Haiti and others affected by this tragedy. I encourage the American people to donate what funds they can afford to disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross to allow these voluntary groups to provide goods and services to disaster survivors as quickly as possible."

To help relief efforts, text “HAITI” to “90999” and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. Or you can go online to organizations like the Red Cross and Mercy Corps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts.

Americans seeking information on family members in Haiti should contact the State Department at 888-407-4747.

Last updated: 01/17/2010



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