Evacuation Splits Haitian-American Families

Mixed citizenship means some family members are left behind
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2010 4:37 AM CST
Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Jason Harold, transfers a young Haitian earthquake victim from a helicopter during a medical evacuation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.    (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Candice Villarreal)
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(Newser) – America's effort to get its stranded citizens out of Haiti has created a terrible dilemma for the many Haitian-American families with mixed citizenship. Anybody with a US passport can proceed to Port-au-Prince's airport for immediate evacuation, but family members without American passports must be left behind. Around 3,000 Americans have been evacuated as of yesterday, and the number will continue to rise, a State Department spokesman tells the Washington Post.

Some families have opted to leave children to stay with relatives, in the hopes that they can travel to the US by other means, while others have refused to board evacuation flights. "I can't separate my two daughters," a woman with one US-born and one Haitian-born daughter who has been sleeping on the street since the earthquake tells the Washington Post. "I don't know what we're going to do."

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