[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.


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     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

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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]