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  • News: USCIS Implements Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

    [Federal Register Volume 79, Number 243 (Thursday, December 18, 2014)]
    [Pages 75581-75583]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2014-29533]
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    [CIS No. 2548-14; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2014-0013]
    Implementation of Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
    AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.
    ACTION: Notice.
    SUMMARY: This notice announces the implementation of U.S. Citizenship 
    and Immigration Services' (USCIS) Haitian Family Reunification Parole 
    (HFRP) Program. Under this program, USCIS offers certain Haitian 
    beneficiaries of family-based immigrant petitions approved on or before 
    December 18, 2014 an opportunity to receive a discretionary grant of 
    parole to enter the United States up to approximately two years before 
    their immigrant visas become available, rather than remain in Haiti 
    awaiting availability of their immigrant visas. The program is intended 
    to expedite family reunification through safe, legal, and orderly 
    channels of migration to the United States, increase existing avenues 
    for legal migration from Haiti, and help Haiti continue to recover from 
    the devastation and damage suffered in the January 12, 2010 earthquake.
    [[Page 75582]]
         The HFRP Program will only be available to Haitian 
    beneficiaries of family-based immigrant petitions approved on or before 
    December 18, 2014.
         On or after February 2, 2015, the Department of State's 
    National Visa Center (NVC) will begin sending to eligible petitioners 
    written invitations to apply to the HFRP Program.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maura Nicholson, Deputy Chief, 
    International Operations Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
    Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., 
    Suite 3300, Washington, DC 20529, Telephone (202) 272-1892.
    I. Background of the HFRP Program
        The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong 
    Haiti is a priority for the United States. While progress has been made 
    since the 2010 earthquake that devastated parts of the country, Haiti 
    continues to face significant development challenges. Reconstruction 
    and development in Haiti will continue for many years.\1\
        \1\ http://www.state.gov/s/hsc/factsheets/2014/219539.htm.
        With the exception of ``immediate relatives'' of U.S. citizens 
    (USCs) (i.e., parent, spouse and unmarried child(ren) under 21 years of 
    age), see Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sec. 201(b)(2)(A)(i), 8 
    U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)(A)(i), the number of family-based immigrant visas 
    that are available in any given year is limited by statute. See INA 
    secs. 201(c), 202(a) & 203, 8 U.S.C. 1151(c), 1152(a) & 1153. These 
    statutory limits have resulted in long waiting periods before family 
    members remaining in Haiti may join the U.S.C. and lawful permanent 
    resident (LPR) family members in the United States who petitioned for 
        Under the HFRP Program, USCIS will exercise its discretionary 
    parole authority \2\ to permit certain eligible Haitians in Haiti to 
    join their family members in the United States up to approximately two 
    years before their immigrant visas become available, thereby promoting 
    family unity. By expanding existing legal means for Haitians to 
    immigrate, the HFRP Program serves a significant public benefit by 
    promoting safe, legal, and orderly migration to the United States. 
    Furthermore, it supports U.S. goals for Haiti's long-term 
    reconstruction and development. Once paroled into the United States, 
    HFRP Program beneficiaries will be eligible to apply for employment 
    authorization, and those who are able to work may contribute to Haiti's 
    post-earthquake reconstruction and development through remittances. 
    Whether to parole a particular alien remains, however, a case-by-case, 
    discretionary determination.
        \2\ See INA sec. 212(d)(5)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)(A) 
    (permitting parole of certain aliens into the United States, as a 
    matter of discretion and on a case-by-case basis, for urgent 
    humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit); see also 8 CFR 
    212.5(c) & (d) (discretionary authority for establishing conditions 
    of parole and for terminating parole).
    II. Participation in the HFRP Program and Application Process
        USCIS offers participation in the HFRP Program to eligible 
    Haitians: (1) In Haiti; (2) who are the beneficiaries (including any 
    accompanying or following-to-join spouse and children \3\) of Forms I-
    130, Petition for Alien Relative, that were approved on or before the 
    date of publication of this notice; (3) whose immigrant visas are not 
    available, but are expected to become available within approximately 18 
    to 30 months; and (4) whose petitioning relatives in the United States 
    have received a written invitation to apply for the HFRP Program on 
    their behalf from the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC).
        \3\ See INA sec. 203(d), 8 U.S.C. 1153(d).
        The NVC will issue a written invitation to petitioners of approved 
    Forms I-130 based upon the date when the immigrant visas for their 
    beneficiary relatives are expected to become available. Each year the 
    NVC will identify approved Forms I-130 whose filing dates (priority 
    dates) are expected to become current in approximately the next 18 to 
    30 months, meaning that the immigrant visas for those cases are 
    expected to become available within that timeframe. The NVC will 
    prioritize the issuance of invitations to petitioners within that 
    group, beginning with the oldest Form I-130 filing date and working 
    forward to the most recent filing date. The number of HFRP Program 
    invitations may be limited annually based on U.S. Government 
    operational capacity in Haiti and the availability of U.S. Government 
    resources to aid program beneficiaries. Initially, the U.S. Government 
    will seek to interview approximately 5,000 HFRP Program beneficiaries 
    in Haiti per year. Petitioners will be given a deadline by which they 
    must apply to have their beneficiary relatives considered for parole 
    under the program. Participation in the HFRP Program is voluntary.
        On or after February 2, 2015, eligible U.S.-based U.S.C. and LPR 
    petitioners with approved Forms I-130 filed on behalf of a beneficiary 
    relative in Haiti for whom a visa is not available but expected to 
    become available within approximately 18 to 30 months, will receive a 
    written notice from the NVC regarding the beneficiary's eligibility to 
    participate in the HFRP Program and the procedures for requesting 
    parole, if desired. The notice will instruct the recipient on how to 
    file a completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and 
    submit the required fee(s) or fee waiver request to apply for parole 
    under the HFRP Program on behalf of each beneficiary. USCIS will reject 
    a request for parole under the HFRP Program that is not submitted as 
    instructed, without the required completed form, or without the fee(s) 
    or a request for a fee waiver.
        USCIS or Department of State consular officers will interview 
    qualified beneficiaries in Port au Prince, Haiti, to verify their 
    eligibility for the program. Beneficiaries may also have their 
    biometrics collected. If USCIS exercises its discretion to grant parole 
    under the HFRP Program, USCIS or the Department of State will issue the 
    necessary travel documents to the beneficiary in Haiti. These travel 
    documents will enable the beneficiary to travel to the United States 
    and seek parole from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. 
    port-of-entry to join his or her family. A beneficiary who is paroled 
    into the United States would then be eligible to apply to adjust status 
    to that of lawful permanent resident once the beneficiary's immigrant 
    visa becomes available.
        Participation in the HFRP Program is not available to aliens who 
    qualify as ``immediate relatives'' under section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) of the 
    INA, 8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)(A)(i). Such aliens may seek immigrant visas 
    for travel to the United States immediately upon the approval of 
    immigrant visa petitions filed on their behalf. If, however, an 
    immigrant visa becomes available for a beneficiary who is not an 
    ``immediate relative'' while the Form I-131 is pending, the beneficiary 
    will still be able to complete the parole process, if desired. 
    Alternatively, the beneficiary can choose to pursue immigrant visa 
    processing, which will require payment of associated fees, but will 
    enable the individual to apply for admission to the United States as an 
    immigrant, if found eligible by the Department of State for the visa 
    and admissible by CBP at the port of entry.
    III. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
        Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, all Departments are required 
    to submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and 
    approval, any new reporting requirements they
    [[Page 75583]]
    impose. The USCIS, Application for Travel Document, (Form I-131), has 
    been approved by OMB and assigned OMB control number 1615-0013. USCIS 
    is making no changes to this form in connection with the implementation 
    of the HFRP Program and this notice. USCIS estimates that the HFRP 
    Program will result in an average of 5,000 Form I-131 filings per year. 
    The current OMB-approved estimated number of annual respondents filing 
    Form I-131 is 940,671. USCIS believes it has overestimated the number 
    of individuals who will use this form to apply for immigration benefits 
    to the degree that additional respondents who will use it to file a 
    HFRP Program-related request will be covered within the 940,671 
    estimated. Because USCIS is not changing the collection instrument or 
    increasing its burden estimates in connection with this notice, it is 
    publishing no notice under the PRA and making no revisions to the 
    currently approved burden for OMB control number 1615-0013.
        Additional information about the HFRP program and the application 
    process will be posted on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov.
        Dated: December 11, 2014.
    Le[oacute]n Rodr[iacute]guez,
    Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
    [FR Doc. 2014-29533 Filed 12-17-14; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
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