Bill Clinton calls on Haitian Americans to help homeland

As former U.S. President Bill Clinton prepares to lead a trade mission to Haiti in hopes of spurring much-needed foreign investment, the United Nations' special envoy to the nation called on Haitian Americans to help improve their homeland's future.

"The more involved you are, the better the odds get, so do not be deterred," Clinton said. "If you are doing something now, try to do more of it."

Clinton's remarks on Sunday in Sunny Isles Beach were his first public address on the Haitian diaspora and came at the end of a four-day conference among Haitians and Haitian-American professionals and leaders searching for ways to help their country following last year's food riots, a five-month political crisis and back-to-back hurricanes.

Clinton also addressed immigration issues that concern Haitians living in the United States. He urged those fighting for Temporary Protected Status on behalf of an estimated 30,000 undocumented Haitians to keep the pressure on but to do so respectfully.

"Do not do it in a hostile way because this is a complicated thing," Clinton said, reminding the audience that he has been where President Barack Obama currently is as he weighs requests to halt the deportation of Haitians.

"I'm sorry it's taking so long but I have to defend the White House because I've been there. I know what's happening."

Held at the Trump International Beach Resort, the second annual "Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress" brought together former government officials, potential presidential candidates, as well as business leaders and elected officials from outside Haiti. Session topics included restoring forests and luring foreign investors.

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