Senator Cornyn Concerned About Haitian Children

 (This is a news release from Senator Cornyn’s office)

Sen. Cornyn, Colleagues Urge Secretary Clinton to Give Haitian Orphans High Priority Following Earthquake Disaster 

 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined a Bipartisan group of 45 Members of the Senate and House in sending a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urging her to give Haitian orphans high priority in all U.S. evacuation and relief plans. Senator Cornyn and the group also asked Secretary Clinton to coordinate with U.S. faith-based and private relief partners in assisting orphans, and to designate a coordinator to lead this overall effort: 

“These children are already among the most vulnerable and in circumstances like these, find themselves at even greater risk,” Sen. Cornyn said. “We must make their evacuation and relief plans, as well as expediting any pending or prospective adoptions between Haitian children and their matching U.S. citizen adoptive parents, our highest priority.”

Over the course of the last week, Sen. Cornyn’s office has been working with at least four Texas families who were in the process of adopting Haitian children. Anyone seeking assistance in this matter should visit http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=HelpWithFederalAgencies and fill out the appropriate forms so that Sen. Cornyn’s office may go to work on their behalf.

The full text of the letter is below and attached.

January 19, 2010

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street N.W.

Washington D.C., 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your outstanding leadership in coordinating the United States’ humanitarian response to Tuesday’s tragic earthquake in Haiti. This is one of the greatest human tragedies in recent history. We understand that the focus of immediate efforts is to ensure that all who survived this terrible disaster have access to life sustaining necessities such as health care, food, water and shelter.

As you begin to construct the next phase of the United States’ and international response, we urge you to consider the needs of orphan children. As you well know, these children are already among the most vulnerable and in circumstances like these, are at even greater risk. Our experience has been that a natural disaster of this magnitude can not only have serious effects on children previously orphaned, but sadly, also be the cause for additional children to find themselves displaced or orphaned.

As we understand, there were approximately 20,000 children living in Haiti’s 187 licensed

orphanages prior to this disaster. The vast majority of these institutions are located in Port-Au-

Prince and the surrounding region. In a small percentage of cases, the children are eligible for

international adoption and have been matched with American families.

We appreciate the announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that humanitarian parole will be offered to children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens and to children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.

With this in mind, we respectfully request that you give every consideration to employing some or all of the following options for assisting Haiti’s orphaned children:

  • Ensure that these children are a high priority in all U.S. evacuation and relief plans.
  • Coordinate with U.S. based faith based and private relief partners to help channel

appropriate levels of relief to orphan children.

  • Identify opportunities for temporary care and shelter within Haiti or Haiti’s border countries where these children could be safely evacuated.
  • Develop a coordinated exit strategy that guarantees the safety and timely removal of these Haitian orphans and delivery to their adoptive families in the U.S. Specifically, your leadership is needed to authorize an authority to lead this effort and to ensure that security and support is provided for these children and for this coordinated effort.
  •  Identify opportunities for orphan children to receive temporary care and shelter within the U.S.

 

Attached please find a list of orphanages we know to be in the affected region, although this list is not exhaustive. We hope that this information and the above recommendations are useful as your team devises a course of action. If we can be of any further assistance to you on this or other matters of mutual concern, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Sincerely,

/s/

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One Response

  1. I wish more people were like Mr. George Clooney. What he has done to help the Haitian people is just amazing. So many of the Hollywood celebrities are just phonies looking for publicity. George is one of the true greats.

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