What is the Haitian Family Reunification Parole?
by Dennis Mulligan
Starting in early 2015,
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin
implementing the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP)
purpose of this program is to expedite family reunification
for certain eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens
and lawful permanent residents.
HFRP will allow some Haitians living in
Haiti to come to the United States before they can actually
apply for their green card, if their relatives in the U.S. –
either citizens or permanent residents – have petitioned for
them to come. If a petition by the relative in the U.S. has
been approved but the relative in Haiti has to wait for
their visa priority date to become current, they may be
eligible to come to the U.S. for up to approximately two
years while they wait until they can apply for a green card.
United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) is not yet accepting HFRP
program applications, and potential beneficiaries, which
number about 112,000, should not take any action at this
time. The U.S. government announced that it will provide
full program details before the end of 2014.
In early 2015, the National Visa Center
(NVC) of the U.S. State Department will begin contacting
certain U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with
approved petitions for Haitian family members, providing
information about the application process. Under HFRP,
Haitians given “parole” will be allowed to enter the U.S.
and apply for work permits but will not receive permanent
resident status any earlier.
Executive Action on Immigration
After the recent elections, President
Obama again stated that he will announce administrative
measures to help some immigrants obtain temporary
immigration status in the U.S.. The Administration's
announcement is expected before the end of 2014, possibly as
early as later this month.
Many reports have indicated that
President Obama will announce an expansion of the Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include
older persons and people who arrived in the U.S. after the
original DACA date of June 2007. Many advocates have also
asked the Administration to expand deferred action to
adults living in the U.S. who have U.S. citizen children or
other "qualifying relatives" and who have lived in the U.S.
for some period of time.
Since the eligibility details of the
new program are not yet known, no one should pay money now
to begin the application process. However, persons who might
be eligible to apply for legal status in the future should
always gather and keep documents proving they have lived in
the U.S., documents showing their relationship with U.S.
citizens and permanent residents, and basic identity
documents such as a birth certificate and passport.
Anyone who has outstanding issues
involving criminal charges or criminal issues from the past
that can be expunged or vacated should speak to a criminal
defense lawyer about getting these issues resolved now.
Any action taken by the Administration
would only provide temporary status to eligible persons, not
full, permanent legal status. Permanent legal status can
only be extended through a new law passed by Congress.
Dennis Mulligan is an
immigration attorney based in New York City. He can be