Letter on Haitian HOPE Act

November 19, 2004 

Honorable Tom DeLay
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Mr. Majority Leader:

I write on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to ask for your support in securing final House passage of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2004 ("HOPE Act"). 

The Haitian bishops tell us that their people are longing for the opportunity to work and to build a solid future for themselves and their children. Having spoken with many parties concerned with Haiti's long-term political and economic recovery, we consider this legislation a critical first step towards offering greater incentives for investment in Haiti. 

In this year of Haiti's bicentennial observance, the people of Haiti have had to endure extraordinary civil unrest and violence. They have suffered as well the devastation of the torrential rains of last May and the more recent hurricanes. It is my prayer that this measure, the HOPE Act of 2004, may bring encouragement to the long-suffering Haitian people. 

We look forward to working with Congress in the future to explore further measures that offer the hope for the long-term stability that Haiti's people so desperately deserve. 

With thanks for your leadership in this matter and with best personal wishes, I remain 

Sincerely yours,  

Most Reverend John H. Ricard, SSJ
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Chairman, Committee on International Policy