Some Haitian Orphans Airlifted to US Weren't Orphans

Questions arise about Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell's airlift of 54 Haitian orphans.

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The airlift of 54 Haitian children organized by Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania was considered a shining light amid the tragedy. Now, questions have been raised as to whether all the children airlifted out were orphans to begin with. From the New York Times

But for 12 of the children, last month’s airlift transported them from one uncertain predicament to another. As it turns out, those children — between 11 months and 10 years old — were not in the process of being adopted, might not all even be orphans and are living in a juvenile care center here while the authorities determine whether they have relatives in Haiti who are able to take care of them.

The details of the children’s departure — and what that could mean for relations between the United States and the Haitian government, which later detained 10 Americans for trying to take children out of the country without authorization — remain unclear.

Ambassador Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s envoy to the United States, said he refused to approve Governor Rendell’s request to remove children from the country who were not already in the adoption pipeline. But an aide to Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the Haitian government accepted assurances from Mr. Rendell and American officials that the children would be well cared for in the United States. The adviser, Alice Blanchet, said of the governor, “I have no reason to second guess his intentions.”

The hustle is appreciated, but paperwork is paperwork.