Jun 26, 2012
After the 2010 Haitian earthquake flattened Port-au-Prince, the United States responded with an outpouring of money, food, and medicine for Haiti. But a more effective form of assistance -- the powerful tool of migration and labor mobility -- was at first overlooked in relief and recovery efforts.
GD senior fellow Michael Clemens led a two-year research and policy engagement effort that reached a milestone in January when the U.S. government added Haiti to the list of more than 50 countries eligible for temporary worker visas, the H-2 visa program. Michael calculated at the time that if just 2,000 Haitians worked as H-2 workers in the United States each year (just 2% of total H-2s) over the course of 10 years they would earn $400 million in additional, new income for Haitian families—an amount equal to the entire U.S. post-earthquake budget for reconstruction in Haiti.