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Since Haiti’s devastating quake two years ago today, many Republicans and Democrats have been urging President Obama to take a simple step to save lives and speed recovery, one which would cost virtually nothing, reunite families, and help thousands in Haiti.

Ten editorial boards have urged the Obama administration to take the step, as have nine U.S. senators, the chairpersons of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs committees, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Philadelphia’s City Council, 87 members of the U.S. Congress in a December 15 letter, eight Florida Congresspersons including Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson in a December 22 letter, the Center for Global Development and many others.

But for two full years administration officials have stalled them and Haitian American leaders, saying the step is “under consideration,” in effect a way of saying “no.”

What’s the proposal? Consider this: 112,000 people in Haiti are beneficiaries of family-based visa petitions which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already approved but who nevertheless remain on a 3 to 10 year wait list in Haiti, where many may not survive given the dangerous conditions there.

As it has for others, DHS easily could and should create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to expedite reunifying them with their petitioning families here. DHS has approved them for U.S. residency and all have a U.S. family support network in place. And for any who, after paying a large fee to the U.S. Treasury, would get a work permit and a job, their remittances — the life-saving money from Haiti’s diaspora which is its most important single source of revenue — would help ten times their number in Haiti.

A July 17, 2010 Boston Globe editorial called this the “most effective way” to show U.S. leadership on Haiti. And a March 22, 2010 Miami Herald editorial — the first of three by that paper urging this, the most recent of which appeared yesterday — asserted, “There is no valid argument for failing to move quickly on this front.” That was 22 months ago.

The United States has welcomed hundreds of thousands of Indochinese, Kosovar and Cuban refugees in recent decades, and there is even more direct precedent for creating this program for the Haitians.

In 2007, DHS created the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, under which since 2009 over 30,000 approved Cuban beneficiaries have been paroled. Many of the editorials now urging a similar Haitian program have decried the “double standard” in not also expediting Haitian family reunification, Los Angeles Times editors for example asking, “Why the disparate treatment?”

On November 2, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was urged by Massachusetts leaders, for the third time in six weeks, to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to “mirror” the Cuban one. That state’s 9-member black and Latino Legislative Caucus wrote:

We are deeply concerned about the precarious status of many Haitian children, elders and families as they wait in Haiti to be reunited with their families in the United States. As you know, for many, the conditions in Haiti since the devastating earthquake of 2010 remain unstable and even dangerous. Establishing a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP), modeled after the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, would alleviate this crisis by simply allowing Haitians already approved for visas to wait for them in the United States with their families rather than in Haiti.

Their letter cited the proposed program’s “economic benefits,” including “sending more remittances home to Haiti to foster economic development with greater speed.”