Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 243 (Thursday, December 18, 2014)
[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 243 (Thursday, December 18, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75579-75581]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-29486]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2547-14; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2007-0043]


Notice of Changes to Application Procedures for the Cuban Family 
Reunification Parole Program

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announces 
that as of February 17, 2015, USCIS will begin requiring the filing of 
an Application for Travel Document (Form I-131) and payment of its 
associated fee or approval of a fee waiver request from individuals who 
are applying for the Cuban Family

[[Page 75580]]

Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program on behalf of a beneficiary in Cuba. 
No form or fee is currently required for the CFRP Program. Under the 
CFRP Program, USCIS offers certain beneficiaries of approved family-
based immigrant petitions the opportunity to be paroled into the United 
States to apply for lawful permanent resident status, rather than 
remain in Cuba waiting for their immigrant visas to become available. 
The purpose of the program is to expedite family reunification through 
safe, legal, and orderly channels of migration to the United States and 
to discourage irregular and inherently dangerous maritime migration. 
This notice is intended to: Make the CFRP Program application and 
adjudication processes consistent with those for most other requests 
for parole filed on behalf of individuals outside the United States; 
facilitate centralized filing and more standardized processing of 
parole applications; and, recover costs incurred by USCIS to adjudicate 
and provide CFRP Program travel documents. This notice will affect only 
those individuals who receive a written invitation to apply to the CFRP 
Program from the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) which 
is dated on or after February 17, 2015. This notice will not affect 
existing CFRP Program beneficiaries or individuals who received a 
notice of program eligibility from the NVC predating the publication of 
this notice and who submitted to the NVC the complete documentation 
required to apply for the program prior to February 17, 2015 (referred 
to as `grandfathered' cases). Grandfathered cases will continue to be 
processed without form or fee.

DATES: 
     As of December 18, 2014, the NVC will no longer issue CFRP 
Program eligibility notices inviting eligible petitioners to opt in to 
the program without the required form and fee.
     On or after February 17, 2015, the NVC will begin sending 
to eligible petitioners a written invitation to apply to the CFRP 
Program using the required form and fee or request for fee waiver.
     A petitioner who received a CFRP Program eligibility 
notice dated prior to December 18, 2014 must submit to the NVC the 
complete required documentation to apply for the CFRP Program before 
February 17, 2015 to be grandfathered and eligible for processing 
without a form and fee.
     A petitioner who received a CFRP Program eligibility 
notice before December 18, 2014 who fails to submit to the NVC the 
complete required documentation to apply for the CFRP Program before 
February 17, 2015 cannot apply for the program until the petitioner 
receives a written invitation to apply to the CFRP Program using a 
required form and fee.
     Any person who applies for the CFRP Program after February 
17, 2015 must submit a form and fee as prescribed in this notice and 
after receipt of a written invitation to apply from the NVC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pilar Peralta Mihalko, Chief, 
International Adjudications Support Branch, International Operations 
Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of 
Homeland Security, 1585 S. Manchester Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92802, 
Telephone (714) 808-8133.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on CFRP Program

    The CFRP Program was announced on November 15, 2007, via Federal 
Register notice (72 FR 65588). The notice explained that, in accordance 
with the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords, the United States committed to 
ensuring that total legal migration to the United States from Cuba 
would be a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not including immediate 
relatives of U.S. citizens (USC). See Joint Communiqu[eacute] on 
Migration, U.S.-Cuba (Sept. 9, 1994) (known together with the May 2, 
1995 Joint Statement as the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords (hereinafter 
``Migration Accords'')). Through the CFRP the United States offers a 
safe, legal, and orderly means of migrating to the United States.
    The CFRP Program addressed two constraints posed by the array of 
migration programs that existed at the time of the program's creation, 
which had limited the ability of the United States to effectively 
promote safe, legal, and orderly migration as an alternative to 
inherently dangerous maritime crossings. First, with the exception of 
immediate relatives of USCs (i.e., spouse, unmarried child(ren) under 
21 years of age, and parents), 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 Cuba may join the 
USC and lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members who petitioned 
for them. Since 1998, the Cuban Government has not permitted a new 
registration for the Special Program for Cuban Migration, the parole 
lottery initiated by the United States in support of the Migration 
Accords. Without this pool of individuals, there was a deficiency in 
the number of Cubans potentially eligible for travel to the United 
States.
    Under the CFRP Program, USCIS exercises its discretionary parole 
authority to permit eligible Cuban nationals to come to the United 
States to join their family members.\1\ Granting parole to eligible 
aliens under the CFRP Program serves the significant public benefit of 
enabling the United States to meet its commitments under the Migration 
Accords. It also lessens the perceived need for family members left 
behind in Cuba to make irregular and inherently dangerous attempts to 
arrive in the United States through unsafe maritime crossings, thereby 
discouraging alien smuggling as a means to enter the United States. 
Whether to parole a particular alien remains, however, a case-by-case, 
discretionary determination.
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    \1\ 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).
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II. Background on Requiring a Form and a Fee

    USCIS has not previously required a form or collected a fee for 
parole requests under the CFRP Program. As a result, USCIS has not used 
a standardized USCIS form, and has not required family members or 
beneficiaries to cover any of the costs associated with the benefit 
provided to them under the CFRP Program. The INA provides that USCIS 
may collect fees at a level that will ensure recovery of the full costs 
of adjudication and naturalization services, including services 
provided without charge to asylum applicants and certain other 
immigration applicants. INA sec. 286(m), 8 U.S.C. 1356(m). Operating 
expenses for the CFRP Program have been fully funded through use of fee 
revenue from other immigration benefit applicants. To bring CFRP 
Program parole requests in line with the majority of other parole 
requests filed on behalf of individuals outside of the United States, 
USCIS will now require the submission of a completed Form I-131, 
Application for Travel Document, and the fee required by USCIS fee 
regulations at 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1)(i)(M) for any CFRP Program application 
filed on or after February 17, 2015. Applicants for the CFRP Program 
must complete

[[Page 75581]]

and file the Form I-131 in effect at the time of filing--and follow any 
additional instructions included in the program eligibility notice they 
receive from either USCIS or the NVC in submitting their application. A 
completed Form I-131 and fee or fee waiver request must be filed for 
each individual on whose behalf parole is being requested.

III. Participation in the CFRP Program and Application Process

    USCIS offers participation in the CFRP Program to Cuban nationals 
who reside in Cuba and who are the beneficiaries--including any 
eligible spouse and child accompanying or following-to-join the 
principal beneficiaries (see INA sec. 203(d), 8 U.S.C. 1153(d))--of an 
approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, but for whom an 
immigrant visa is not immediately available. Participation in the CFRP 
Program is voluntary.
    Prior to the date of this notice, the NVC mailed written notice to 
eligible U.S.-based U.S.C. and LPR petitioners with approved Forms I-
130 indicating their beneficiaries' eligibility to participate in the 
CFRP Program. The notice invited an interested petitioner to submit to 
the NVC a copy of their approved Form I-130 and other supporting 
documents to opt in to the CFRP Program and begin the process of 
requesting parole. No formal application form or fee was required to 
apply. As of the date of this notice, the NVC will no longer issue CFRP 
Program eligibility notices that do not require a form and fee to 
apply. Petitioners with CFRP Program eligibility notices dated prior to 
December 18, 2014 must submit to the NVC the complete required 
documentation to opt in to the CFRP Program prior to February 17, 2015 
in order to be grandfathered and considered for processing without a 
form and fee.
    On or after February 17, 2015, participation in the CFRP Program 
will be predicated on submission of a Form I-131 and the requisite 
fee(s) or request for fee waiver that has been approved by USCIS. A 
U.S.C. or LPR petitioner in the United States with an approved Form I-
130 that was filed on behalf of a beneficiary relative residing in 
Cuba, for whom a visa is not anticipated to be available during the 
CFRP processing time, will receive a written invitation from the NVC 
regarding the beneficiary's eligibility to participate in the CFRP 
Program and the procedures for requesting parole, if desired. The 
notice will instruct the recipient on how to file a completed Form I-
131 and submit the required fee(s) or fee waiver request to apply for 
the program. USCIS will reject a request for parole under the CFRP 
Program submitted without the required form and fee(s) or a request for 
a fee waiver.
    USCIS officers or Department of State consular officers will 
interview qualified beneficiaries in Havana to verify their eligibility 
for the program. Beneficiaries may also have their biometrics 
collected. If USCIS exercises its discretion to authorize parole under 
the CFRP Program, USCIS or the Department of State will issue the 
necessary travel documents to the beneficiary in Cuba. These travel 
documents will enable the beneficiary to travel safely to the United 
States and seek parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a 
U.S. port-of-entry to join his or her family member. A beneficiary who 
is paroled into the United States would then be eligible to apply to 
adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident after he or she has 
been physically present in the United States for one year as provided 
by the Cuban Adjustment Act, Pub. L. 89-732, 80 Stat. 1161 (8 U.S.C. 
1255 note), or once the beneficiary's visa becomes available, whichever 
comes first.
    Participation in the CFRP 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 the 
immigrant visa petitions filed on their behalf.
    For eligible beneficiaries who are not ``immediate relatives,'' if 
an immigrant visa becomes available while the Form I-131 is pending, 
the beneficiary will be able to proceed with the parole process to 
completion, 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.

IV. 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 impose. The 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 the Form in 
connection with the CFRP Program and this notice; however, USCIS 
estimates that this notice will result in an annual average of 13,000-
15,000 Form I-131 filings per year. The current OMB-approved estimate 
of the number of annual respondents filing a Form I-131 is 940,671. 
USCIS 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 for the CFRP Program will be 
covered within the 940,671 estimated. USCIS is not changing the 
collection instrument or increasing its burden estimates in connection 
with this notice. Therefore, USCIS is not publishing a notice under the 
PRA or making revisions to the currently approved burden for OMB 
control number 1615-0013.
    Additional information about the CFRP 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. 2014-29486 Filed 12-17-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-97-P