Politics & Government

Biden stresses U.S. aid commitment in visit to Miami's Little Haiti

Vice President Joe Biden came to Miami on Saturday to assure Haitian-American leaders that the administration was committed to Haiti's recovery — for as long as it takes.

Biden sought to spread the message from President Barack Obama far and wide, from the Little Haiti Cultural Center to the Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church to Homestead Air Reserve Base, which has loaded and launched more than 150 cargo planes to the earthquake-ravaged island.

"The president does not view this as a humanitarian mission that is going to have the life cycle of a month. When we have done our job, we come home," Biden told about 30 community leaders and elected officials at the cultural center. "This will still be on our radar screen long after it's off the crawler at CNN. This is going to be a long slog."

Biden's visit came one day after the White House vowed to give tens of thousands of undocumented Haitians in the United States the chance to stay here and work under the "Temporary Protected Status" program, known as TPS. The vice president's trip allowed the Haitian-American community to thank him for the administration's response, but also to press for more.

The Rev. Reginald Jean-Mary urged Biden to allow Haitian orphans to come to the United States, as Cuban children sent by their parents did in the 1960s under Operation Peter Pan. The priest closed the meeting with words of gratitude.

"The doing for is meaningless without the being with," Jean-Mary said. "By being with us today, you show by your presence that what the Obama-Biden administration is doing for Haiti comes from your heart."

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