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GOP Reps Mills and McClain airlift “Tuesdays with Morrie” author Mitch Albom away from imploding Haiti
By Belle Carter // Mar 20, 2024

Phenomenal author Mitch Albom, known for his books "Tuesdays with Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," was among those who were recently rescued in the middle of violent gang upheavals in Haiti.

Florida Representative Cory Mills conducted an independent rescue mission in the Caribbean country with the help of Michigan Representative Lisa McClain. The Republican congressman and his team managed to bring ten Americans working at an orphanage in Port au Prince back home, including Albom.

Albom said he and a group from Have Faith Haiti, an orphanage he runs in the nation’s capital, were evacuated after sheltering in place since a state of emergency was declared in the country this month. He has been involved with the Haitian orphanage for more than a decade, and visits for a week once a month, McClain said in an interview. "It was a helicopter effort and was pretty crazy," Albom said upon arriving back in the United States. "I want to thank Cory Mills and Lisa McClain, who were instrumental in making this happen as an independent effort. We were lucky to get out."

In the statement, Albom said saying goodbye to the children "was horribly difficult." "I had a responsibility to bring home eight wonderful volunteers who were working with us," he wrote. "But my wife's and my hearts ache for our kids still there."

Mills reported the mission on X, formerly Twitter. "I am proud to report that my team and I were successful in evacuating and rescuing a trapped, and at risk group of Americans from 'Have Faith Orphanage' in Haiti last night," he said. "This recent mission," he added, "reiterates a disturbing reality that under President Biden's leadership American lives are continually jeopardized. I have conducted rescue/evacs of Americans multiple times when Joe Biden has deserted them. There's a clear pattern of abandonment!" He also noted that he has now conducted three independent rescue missions: one each in Afghanistan in 2021, Israel in 2023, and now Haiti in 2024. "Americans at home and abroad are more unsafe under Biden than ever before," he lamented.

Meanwhile, McClain extended her "deepest gratitude" to Mills and his team for ensuring the group got home safe. Her sentiments were echoed by many others, who commended Mills for his bravery.

The U.S. State Department has had a do-not-travel advisory on Haiti since March 2020, but violence has escalated in recent weeks as gangs have banded together and terrorized the country, kidnapping and killing civilians and shutting down the airport. Neighboring countries are now rushing to create a transitional government and replace Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has agreed to step down.

Biden to open Guantanamo Bay detention camp to Haitian migrants

As gangs now control 80 percent of Haiti's capital, per United Nations estimates, more than 300,000 people have been displaced. As a result, the Biden administration is discussing use of Guantanamo Bay to process Haitian migrants if there is a mass exodus to the U.S. amid the worsening situation.

The center in Cuba was used in 2010 when the U.S. military prepared the site in anticipation of Haitians fleeing the earthquake-stricken country, CNN reported. Migrants from Haiti would likely attempt to reach Florida by sea in a journey that can be perilous, and the U.S. is weighing plans to take those interdicted at sea and transport them to Guantanamo for processing and potential repatriation, the news outlet added. "We are clear-eyed that economic, political, and security instability are key drivers for migrants around the world," a National Security Council spokesperson said. (Related: DoD preparing for a 'mass migration' of Haitians into U.S.)

"DHS is monitoring the situation in Haiti and coordinating closely with the State Department and international partners. At this time, irregular migration flows through the Caribbean remain low," the spokesperson said. "Those interdicted at sea are subject to immediate repatriation pursuant to our longstanding policy and procedures. The United States returns or repatriates migrants interdicted at sea to The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti."

Haiti's government has been under a state of emergency since groups attacked the country's largest prison in Port-au-Prince earlier this month, killing and injuring police and prison staff and allowing some 3,500 inmates to escape.

Biden's officials are bracing for a mass migration event at a time when key immigration agencies are low on funds. Last year, the White House asked Congress for around $14 billion in additional funds to secure the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a broader national security supplemental request. President Joe Biden has repeatedly implored lawmakers to pass the request but faced challenges in the Republican-controlled House because of strings tied to the bill. The request remains stalled in Congress.

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