Lawmakers urge Haitian protected status

June 23, 2009 at 12:32 PM
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MIAMI, June 23 (UPI) -- Undocumented Haitians living in the United States should be allowed to stay while their country recovers from hurricanes, Florida lawmakers say.

A congressional delegation from the state said Monday after a one-day visit to Haiti that although reconstruction progress has been made, refugees in the United States should not yet be forced to go back, the Miami Herald reported.

The delegation included Democratic U.S. Reps. Kendrick Meek and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart told reporters that an estimated 30,000 Haitians should be granted Temporary Protected Status in the United States and urged the Obama administration to revise the State Department's travel warning to American citizens.

"It's a beautiful country, Haiti, with an extraordinary history and one of the ways in which they are going to lift themselves up from poverty is with tourism," the Herald quoted him saying. "I would urge and I will, the Obama administration, the State Department to review that policy because the lack of security that has been at the cause of the warning to U.S. tourists has been improved."

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