Church and government officials are organizing a rescue mission for orphans from Haiti in the wake of the tragic earthquake earlier this week.
In an airlift rescue mission similar to 1950’s Operation Pedro Pan, which brought over 14,000 Cuban children of political dissenters to safety in the U.S., Florida non-profit groups are organizing to bring Haitian orphans to the United States under a special “humanitarian parole,” which will waive the normal visa requirements.
The rescue effort, which is being organized by Catholic Charities, is still in early stages, but it may bring thousands of orphaned children and babies from Haiti to safe spaces in America. The children will likely be placed with relatives in America, or temporarily placed in group homes until they can be adopted.
“We will use the model we used 50 years ago with Pedro Pan to bring these orphans to the United States to give them a lifeline, a bright and hopeful future,” Catholic Legal Services executive director Randolph McGrorty announced at a press conference.
Many of the now-adult Cuban refugees who were relocated in the Pedro Pan effort are lining up to help out with the Haitian rescue attempt, which they’re referring to as “Pierre Pan.”
“It’s terrible to be alone in a new country where you don’t speak the language or know anyone,” former Pedro Pan refugee Eloisa Echazábal told The Miami Herald. “The kindness of strangers is what gets you through. We know that very well, and we can be those strangers to these poor kids—who are like us a long time ago.”
It may take several weeks before the rescue effort is fully organized, but government officials are on board and ready to take action.
“It is a beautiful and noble gesture and I have great confidence that we will work closely with church officials and the administration to make it reality,” said Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
Want to help Haiti? Donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting “HAITI” to the number “90999,” or read our story to find out about other ways to help.