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Florida congressmen renew call to help Haiti in the wake of earthquake

Florida Republicans Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are pressing the Obama administration to let undocumented Haitians here in the U.S. stay in the wake of a major earthquake in the country. The Bush administration never granted the request and Barack Obama's administration has signaled it wants to address "Temporary Protected Status" for Haitians in an overall immigration bill.

But the three Republicans said in a letter to Obama that the time is now: "The combined destruction from today's catastrophic earthquake and the previous storms clearly makes forced repatriation of Haitians hazardous to their safety at this time,'' the congressmen wrote in a letter. "We strongly believe that it is for such a situation that Congress created TPS."

Florida Democrats didn't repeat their call for TPS in statements released by their offices, but called for immediate relief for the country. Rep. Kendrick Meek said he was "monitoring the situation very closely" and is "prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives and bring swift disaster relief to Haiti and the Haitian people at this time.

"I ask that all Americans please keep the Haitian people and all victims of this disaster in their thoughts and prayers," he said. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was just in Haiti in June, said she knew "only too well how much this earthquake will add to the already immense obstacles facing the Haitian people."