Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) voted in favor of H.R. 3619, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2009. Included in the Act was an amendment introduced by Hastings that directs the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to conduct a study examining the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to the effects of possible changes in U.S. immigration policies toward Haiti. (Click here for a PDF copy of the amendment.)
“Changes in immigration policies affecting Haiti are nothing new.” Hastings said. “In fact, it was just over ten years ago that Congress passed the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, which affected far more Haitian nationals than any of the currently proposed policies would affect.
“TPS, or some other comparable relief, for our Haitian neighbors is long overdue, and this administration has been stalling for far too long. This study will hopefully help us show that our government has rationally and realistically examined all possible results and that we are well equipped to contend with any possible effects.”
H.R. 3619 is the annual authorization of the Coast Guard. It authorizes appropriations for the service and incorporates provisions addressing marine safety, acquisition reform, and the Coast Guard’s management structure, recruitment, and career development. Hastings’ amendment specifically asks that the Secretary to examine several scenarios and take into account past experiences regarding changes in immigration policies regarding Haitians.