H.R. 5283: Help HAITI Act of 2010

H.R. 5283

Help HAITI Act of 2010


July 20, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 5283 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage.  The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) on May 12, 2010.  The Committee on the Judiciary took no official action on the bill.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5283 would require that the Secretary of Homeland Security adjust the status of a Haitian alien if they:

(1) Apply for such adjustment;

(2) Are physically present in the United States on the date the application for such adjustment is filed; and

(3) Are admissible to the United States as an immigrant.


The bill defines “eligible aliens” as an alien who has been inspected and granted parole into the United States pursuant to the humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans announced on January 18, 2010, and suspended as to new applications on April 15, 2010.


The bill states that when an alien is granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence under this section, the Secretary of State shall not be required to reduce the number of immigrant visas authorized to be issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act.


The bill also states that an alien is be deemed to satisfy the requirements applicable to adopted children under section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1)) if, before the date on which the alien attains 18 years of age—


(1) The alien obtains adjustment of status under this section; and

(2) A United States citizen adopts the alien, regardless of whether the adoption occurs before, on, or after the date of the decision granting adjustment of status under this section.


The bill prohibits immigration benefits for birth parents of any adopted child affected by the bill.  Specifically, no birth parent of an alien who obtains adjustment of status under this section shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this section or the Immigration and Nationality Act.


The bill would normalize the immigration procedures for over 1,000 Haitian orphans who were already in the process of being adopted by U.S. citizens prior to the January earthquake. 


Due to a technicality, these children, upon establishing a legal relationship with their adoptive parents, will have to wait two years before they may become legal permanent residents.  While their status remains in limbo, these children will have fewer legal protections, may not be eligible for critical resources, and risk being returned to Haiti if something were to happen to their adoptive families. 


The Help HAITI Act would provide legal certainty and protections for Haitian orphans by allowing adoptive parents to apply immediately for legal permanent residency for them.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had not produced a cost estimate for H.R. 2693 as of press time.