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September 16, 2019

Chairman Thompson, Members Urge DHS to Help Hurricane Dorian Refugees from the Bahamas

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, led a group of 36 members of Congress in sending a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan urging him to use his department’s discretion and available resources to help the people of the Bahamas after the country was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

Letter excerpts:

“Since the storm devastated the Bahamas and displaced people began to flee, there have been numerous troubling reports regarding the Administration’s treatment of these survivors. We are asking you to utilize all authorities at your disposal as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, including humanitarian parole and Temporary Protected Status for our Bahamian neighbors affected by this catastrophic storm.

“Existing law and policy provide authorities for just such a situation. In particular, humanitarian parole allows the Department to admit people temporarily for humanitarian reasons, with proper screening, and Temporary Protected Status designation would allow Bahamians already present in the U.S. to remain until conditions at home are suitable for their return. 

“We are not requesting any change in policy, nor are we suggesting that new procedures should be put in place in response to this humanitarian crisis. We ask that you take full advantage of your agency’s discretion and available resources in order to aid the Bahamian people.”

Members who signed letter: Bennie G. Thompson, Sheila Jackson Lee, James R. Langevin, Cedric L. Richmond, Donald M. Payne Jr., J. Luis Correa, Kathleen M. Rice, Emanuel Cleaver, Al Green, Yvette D. Clarke, Dina Titus, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Nanette D. Barragán, Val Demings, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Frederica S. Wilson, Brenda L. Lawrence, Nydia M. Velázquez, Danny K. Davis, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, John Lewis, Rosa L. DeLauro, Gwen Moore, Jan Schakowsky, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frank Pallone Jr., James P. McGovern, Judy Chu, Darren Soto, Peter A. DeFazio, André Carson, Joyce Beatty, Elissa Slotkin, Xochitl Torres Small, Max Rose, Lauren Underwood.

Link to Letter

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978