USCIS To Implement Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
Starting in early 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin implementing the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program to expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration from Haiti to the United States.
Under this program, USCIS will offer certain eligible Haitian beneficiaries of already approved family-based immigrant visa petitions, who are currently in Haiti, an opportunity to come to the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current.
Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas noted, “The United States strongly discourages individuals in Haiti from undertaking life-threatening and illegal maritime journeys to the United States. Such individuals will not qualify for the HFRP program and if located at sea may be returned to Haiti.”
USCIS noted that legal authority for the HFRP program is provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to parole into the United States certain individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. This is the same legal authority used to establish the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program in 2007.
USCIS is not accepting HFRP program applications now, and the agency said that potential beneficiaries should not take any action at this time. USCIS said it will provide full program details before the end of this calendar year, and stakeholder engagements will take place shortly thereafter. In early 2015, the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will begin contacting certain U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with approved petitions for Haitian family members, offer them the opportunity to apply for the program, and provide instructions. Only individuals who receive a written notice of program eligibility from NVC will be eligible to apply.
Under the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program, Haitians authorized parole will be allowed to enter the United States and apply for work permits but will not receive permanent resident status any earlier.