Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

20 February 2010

A Chicago Teacher Finds His Parents in Haiti - Now What?

This was originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog. 


A short note from a friend asked for my attention over the weekend. Her son's preschool teacher returned to his homeland of Haiti to search for his parents. He found them, but that is just the first part of what appears to be a long journey through immigration bureaucracy.

Jean-Paul Coffy is currently with his parents at a hospital and somehow was able to get their passports reissued, but now he is awaiting judgment from the American government as to whether or not he can bring them to his adopted hometown of Chicago:
...he had an appointment scheduled for Thursday with the United States Consulate in Santo Domingo to apply for temporary visas to take them to Chicago. Another possibility would be humanitarian parole, a special temporary immigration category that is rarely granted.
His case will be particularly difficult, immigration experts say, because Mr. Coffy, while a legal resident with a green card, is not a United States citizen.
I'm sure that Coffy's story is merely one of thousands just like it. Sure, he's not a U.S. citizen, but if Coffy and other Haitians living in the USA have a home and the ability to help heal their loved ones here, we should let them. We seem to be all too willing to allow orphans across borders, but here we have two elderly people with a son that already supports them from his home in Chicago, and who can offer them safety and shelter during a difficult time. I hope that our government will allow the Coffy family to come home to Chicago where they can get the medical treatment they require and give Haiti time to heal itself as well.

You can keep up to date on the Coffy family at their blog, Help Coffy.

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