Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–January 28, 2010. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to support U.S. government efforts—led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—by deploying more than 1,000 personnel to provide operational and humanitarian assistance in Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake. On Jan. 25, DHS stood up pre-departure identity verification teams in Haiti, comprised of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, to streamline and expedite the evacuation process.
“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to supporting the people of Haiti during this time of crisis,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We will continue to help coordinate response efforts here at home, deploy personnel and supplies to Haiti to support the disaster recovery efforts on the ground, and assist in the safe and secure evacuation of eligible individuals to the United States.”
As of Jan. 25, 24 CBP, 22 ICE and three TSA personnel have begun conducting pre-departure identity verification in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to streamline and expedite the evacuation process; ensure smooth processing when passengers arrive at a U.S. port of entry; and identify individuals who are not eligible to enter the United States and prevent them from boarding a flight.
On Jan. 19, Secretary Napolitano authorized the temporary activation of up to 900 reserve Coast Guard service members to assist U.S. aid efforts in Haiti—many of whom have already arrived in Haiti and are working to strengthen port security in Port Au Prince.
Six Coast Guard cutters and a variety of additional Coast Guard assets are currently operating in Haiti to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments, rescue people in need of assistance, provide medical and security support, and help open Haiti’s ports. There are currently 757 Coast Guard personnel assisting with Haiti relief efforts.
The Coast Guard has evacuated 1,164 American citizens, conducted 240 medical evacuations and has delivered 696 first responders to Port Au Prince.
As of Jan. 28, CBP has processed 982 total evacuation flights carrying 18,331 civilian passengers, 506 military passengers, 197 patients, 675 parolees and 483 orphans into the United States. CBP has also processed 270 flights in support of relief workers. TSA officers have assisted with and provided added layers of security to 91 arriving flights that served 7,774 Haitian Evacuees.
In support of the State Department and USAID, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partnering with the Department of Defense to transport approximately 320 shipping containers of commodities to Haiti.
In addition to deploying critical personnel and supplies to assist the international relief effort, Secretary Napolitano granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of Jan. 12, 2010, and implemented a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti with prospective adoptive families in the United States to enter the country temporarily on an individual basis. As of Jan. 28, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Port Au Prince had processed more than 480 orphan cases.