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Debate grows in aftermath of quake: Should U.S. let more Haitians immigrate?

This gallery collects all of our photos of the crisis in Haiti, starting with the most recent images and going back to the first photos that emerged after an earthquake hit the impoverished nation Jan. 12.

Still, Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush who is now at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that if the United States doubled for the next five years the 25,000 Haitians who have been coming to the United States annually, it would substantially increase the remittances sent back, providing critical help as the nation tries to rebuild. Such help streaming home to families is more reliable and more likely to be spent efficiently than the ebb and flow of foreign aid, he said. Abrams suggested that to satisfy critics of increased immigration, the United States could offset the influx of Haitians by temporarily slowing immigration from elsewhere.

Among Haitians and their U.S. relatives, Limon predicted, pressure on U.S. immigration policy will escalate in the coming weeks and months. "You need a boat, a captain, money. Nobody has that," she said. "But in two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, they will."

In Little Haiti, the first stirrings are already visible. "How can anyone watch someone who has . . . no food, and they're just lying in the street covering themselves with a box, and then say, 'No more immigration'? How is that humane?" said Tchelsie Lafond, 20, whose uncle crawled out of the rubble of the bank in which he worked and, with his wife, now wants to come to the United States.

Meanwhile, Celestin, a 49-year-old restaurant worker and U.S. citizen, was so frustrated listening to her brother plead for her to help family members reach Miami that she accepted a one-way plane ticket from her church and flew to Haiti with a small delegation of parishioners Saturday night. She has no idea how she will afford to get home.

Still, Celestin said, she hopes to find her way to the U.S. Embassy in the shattered capital and beg someone to let her relatives go back with her. "In Haiti, they have nothing at all," she said. "In the U.S., people can help them out."

Goldstein reported from Washington, Whoriskey from Miami.


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