Congresswoman Wilson's Statement on Homeland Security Department's Extension of Visas for Low-Skilled Workers from HaitiWednesday January 18, 2012
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) issued the following statement on the news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services agency is making Haiti one of the countries eligible for a visa program for low-skilled workers:
“This is great news for the people of Haiti who are rebuilding their lives while their homeland recovers from the devastating earthquake that struck their nation two years ago last week. By making Haiti one of the 58 countries eligible for the H-2A and H-2B visas, Haitians can now contribute to Haiti’s stability through repatriated skills and capital. It’s a win-win for thousands of Haitian families who remain displaced and the businesses here that employ them.”
The awarding of H-2A and H-2B visas to Haitian nationals is a culmination of legislative efforts led by Rep. Wilson. She was joined on a letter to the administration by other members of the Florida Congressional delegation, including Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Deutch, Corinne Brown, David Rivera and Mario Diaz-Balart. Rep. Wilson has also held public events to increase awareness on the need for temporary visas for low-skilled workers.
According to the Center for Global Development, international migration has lifted more Haitians out of poverty than all the foreign aid, investment and trade preferences extended to Haiti over the past 30 years – combined. This migration has drastically increased remittances to Haiti from the U.S., which are estimated to total more than $2 billion per year, representing nearly twice the amount the U.S. has pledged to Haiti in assistance.
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson is a first-term congresswoman representing the 17th District of Florida, including Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward Counties. She is a former state legislator and school principal and the founder of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence Project, a mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school.