Atlanta refugee agency getting ready for Haitians

We have written previously that Atlanta is overloaded with refugees, but according to this article more could be on the way—-asylum seekers, children and parolees from Haiti.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Atlanta could be a destination for tens of thousands of American being evacuated from the devastated island, and several agencies say it could also be a destination for Haitian children.

The Georgia Department of Human Services is looking for French- or Creole-speaking families to host Haitian children.*

The Atlanta chapter of the nonprofit International Rescue Committee, which works with immigrants, is rallying their French- or Creole-speaking volunteers and their legal staff. Executive Director Ellen Beattie said the organization will help Haitians who are here legally to apply for extensions to their U.S. stays. The federal government has given the go-ahead to the extension program.

“We have been alerted by our state refugee coordinator that Hartsfield will be a significant point of entry for [Americans] who may be repatriated as well as Haitians seeking parole and asylum and protection,” Beattie said.

* On this issue of the children.  I know the mainstream media is getting all warm and fuzzy about such actions as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s the other day when he held up other planes at the one functional airport in Haiti while he picked up two planeloads of “orphans” to take to PA ( I am assuming at PA taxpayer expense).   I saw a quick newsclip (I will see if I can find it) of Haiti’s President warning that you (Americans) just can’t pick up kids on Haitian streets to take to the US for adoption.  They might still have parents and other relatives who want them.

Incidentally, on this Rendell rescue adventure, someone told me yesterday that all of the children taken to Pennsylvania did not have adoptive parents waiting and were going into the foster care system.  If anyone sees that reported somewhere please post it as a comment, or e-mail me at and send a link.

More information here:  For a definition of Parole, go here.   For a good review of Asylum, go here (a pdf document).  Note that when reviewing that document, according to figures in 2008, Haiti already was the third highest sender of asylum seekers entering the US behind China at #1 and Columbia at #2.

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