Haiti + 2 more

Mission Trip to Haiti and the Bahamas: Report of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Situation Report
Originally published
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*This report contains observations made approximately six months following the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

From July 24 to August 2, 2010, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration (COM) and The Committee on International Justice and Peace traveled to Haiti, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic, to assess the situation of Haitians a little more than six months after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, which killed 230,000 and injured 300,000 Haitians. The Committee on International Justice and Peace joined the delegation from July 25 to August 2 and focused on the relief and development situation in Haiti. Heading the delegation were Archbishop Thomas Wenski, archbishop of Miami and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, New York. Archbishop Wenski and Bishop DiMarzio represent the two (arch)dioceses in the United States with the largest number of Haitians.

The delegation also included Maria Odom, Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc, (CLINIC); Kevin Appleby, Director of Migration Policy and Public Affairs for USCCB; Fr. Juan Molina, OSST, Foreign Policy Advisor for the Office of International Justice and Peace of USCCB; Mary DeLorey, Strategic Issues Advisor for Catholic Relief Services; Nathalie Lummert, Children’s Program Director for Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) of USCCB; and Todd Scribner, Education Coordinator for Migration and Refugee Services/USCCB.

Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a subsidiary of USCCB, provide services to and advocate on behalf of Haitians in the United States. MRS operates a resettlement program out of Miami for Haitians who arrive in the United States in search of protection or a new life. CLINIC helps to provide legal representation for Haitians in the United States. Together, the two agencies work to influence the U.S. government to treat Haitian migrants with fairness, consistent with standards of decency and international law. The goals of the trip were to ascertain 1) the status of recovery/reconstruction efforts and how they are impacting migration flows in Haiti and in the region; 2) the impact of the earthquake and its aftermath on vulnerable populations, including women and children; 3) the role of civil society and the Haitian Diaspora in the rebuilding and development efforts in Haiti; 4) how the policies of the U.S. and neighboring countries are affecting displaced Haitians; and 5) resources on the ground that are best positioned to assist in the reunification of families, particularly those with family members evacuated to the United States.