America Should Increase Aid, Accept More Haitian Immigrants

But it is doubtful whether such additional commitments will be made–and kept–as Haiti moves off the front pages.

"Rebuilding" and "recovery" would merely take Haiti, this hemisphere’s poorest country, back to where it stood before the Jan. 12 earthquake. Surely, our goal is to do better.

We must increase aid but also allow Haitians to help themselves, and there is no way they can do that sitting in a devastated nation. A substantial number of Haitians must be allowed to move to richer countries–including ours.

Haiti has about 9 million citizens, and 1 million to 2 million Haitians live outside their country. According to the US Census Bureau, half a million people born in Haiti live in the United States, and estimates put several hundred thousand in Canada and as many as 100,000 in France. Those migrants send home $1.9 billion in remittances–double the official aid flows and equal to 30 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product.

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