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Alcee Hastings Wants to Help Haitians Impacted By Earthquake, Hurricanes With TPS, Scholarships

January 23, 2019 - 9:00am
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings

Now part of the congressional majority and vice chairman of the U.S. House Rules Committee, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., the dean of the Florida delegation, has turned his attention to help Haitian nationals in the U.S. 

Last week, Hastings brought out a concurrent resolution “supporting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals residing in the United States at the time Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti.” Democrat U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Donna Shalala of Florida are the original cosponsors. 

Hastings weighed in on why he had brought out the resolution. 

“Hurricane Matthew was the worst hurricane to hit Haiti in 50 years, taking the lives of over 1,000 people, leading to the internal displacement of 175,000 Haitians, and leaving 1.4 million in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Any decision regarding whether TPS ought to be extended or granted must take Hurricane Matthew into consideration,” Hastings said when he unveiled the resolution. 

“The people of Haiti have faced several natural disasters over the years including the 2010 earthquake, the subsequent Cholera outbreak, and most recently Hurricane Matthew,” Hastings added. “As Haiti continue to work diligently to address these and other important issues, including creating strong democratic institutions, we must do all that we can to help Haiti rebuild. I, therefore encourage all my colleagues to join me in letting the people of Haiti and its diaspora know that we stand with them.”

The resolution was sent to the U.S. Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary Committees towards the end of last week. 

Hastings also unveiled the “Haitian Educational Empowerment Act” to help Haitian students impacted by the earthquake in 2010 or Hurricane Matthew through a new scholarship. He reeled in more than 10 cosponsors including Florida Democrats U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson. 

“I am pleased to introduce the Haitian Educational Empowerment Act of 2019, legislation that establishes a scholarship program for Haitian students whose studies were interrupted by the 2010 earthquake or Hurricane Matthew,” Hastings said. “Those of us who care about Haiti and its’ diaspora know that it remains on the road to recovery. The rebuilding continues from not only Hurricane Matthew, but also the 2010 earthquake and Cholera outbreak, all of which have been roadblocks to Haiti’s full recovery. These disasters claimed the lives of thousands of people, displaced over 175,000 Haitians, and severely damaged many of Haiti’s institutions of education.

“The scholarships made available through this legislation will ensure that Haiti has access to the future teachers, doctors, lawyers and civil servants it will need to realize its full potential with strong democratic institutions and a robust economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the passage of this important legislation,” Hastings added. 

The bill was sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate. 

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