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DHS To Implement Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

Last week the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will implement the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program to expedite family reunification for Haitian family members of US Citizens or lawful permanent residents. This program will apply only Haitians with approved immigrant relative visa petitions but who are waiting in Haiti for their priority date to become current. Due to annual caps on immigration, hundreds of thousands of Haitians are waiting to reunite with their family in the United States despite the fact that they have already been approved for visas. Erik Eckholm of the New York Times explained,

"The Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program will sidestep the quota logjam for a limited group of Haitians — those scheduled to receive their entry visas within two years. Immigration officials will offer those applicants a special parole status that would allow them to live and, in most cases, work in the United States while they await official resident status."

In addition to alleviating bureaucratic backlogs, the HFRP Program is designed to discourage Haitians from making the dangerous trip across the Caribbean Sea to the United States. The Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said,

“The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States. The Haitian Family Reunification Parole program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification. It also supports broader U.S. goals for Haiti’s reconstruction and development by providing the opportunity for certain eligible Haitians to safely and legally immigrate sooner to the United States.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.”

The HFRP Program is not part broader immigration action by the Obama Administration, however, it might signal they type of action the Administration may take in the future.

Sources DHS To Implement Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. USCIS. http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-implement-haitian-family-reunification-parole-program

Obama Administration to Expedite Family Reunification for Some Haitians. Erick Eckholm. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/obama-administration-to-expedite-green-cards-for-some-haitian-families.html?_r=0

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