Yesterday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michelle Bond provided an update on the situation in Haiti and information on the adoption of Haitian children. On efforts to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti, Ms. Bond said:
"We have evacuated more than 4,500 U.S. citizens in the week since the earthquake hit. That’s a phenomenal number considering that we’re taking them out of an area that’s been devastated by the earthquake and we’re taking them out to airport that’s rather small and limited in its capacity. Yesterday alone we evacuated almost 1,700 American citizens. We are routinely shuttling citizens from the U.S. Embassy compound to the airport for evacuation. To date, Americans who have arrived at the Embassy for assistance or who go directly to the airport we’ve been able to assist them that day to depart and we’re very happy and very proud that that’s been the case. They haven’t had to wait and wait for us to be able to help them get out of the country. U.S. citizens with passports have been instructed to proceed directly to the airport for evacuation flights."
Ms. Bond continued, "I mentioned that American citizens who have been affected by the earthquake are our top priority. Well, American citizens who are waiting to complete the adoptions of children in Haiti are included in those who are top priority. We know there are several hundred Americans in the United States who were in various stages in the process of adopting Haitian children. Naturally, they are frantic with worry about the children’s welfare and they want to know how to expedite adoption so the children can be brought safely home to the United States.
"On January 18, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need – as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after the earthquake. Information about this process can be found on our website adoptions.state.gov."
Parents who are interested in following up on this and determining whether their own child is eligible to receive a visa and travel now or who want to know what they can do to get their child’s case processed can emails us at ASKCI@state.gov
Read Ms. Bond's full remarks here.