In mid-October, the White House announced a new program that will ease the immigration process of Haitians whose relatives are already in the United States. Starting in 2015, the reunion of thousands of Haitian immigrants with their U.S.-based families will become a reality thanks to the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) program.
Under current conditions, there are up to 100,000 people in Haiti sponsored by relatives in the U.S. These immigrants are technically “legal aliens” since their visa applications have already been approved, but they must still wait for certain quota adjustments before they can come to the U.S. Once they have been reunited with their families, the newly arrived Haitians can apply for a work permit and wait two years until they can get permanent residence status through employment.
The HFRP program has been debated in Congress for nearly five years. Immigration advocates grew exasperated at inaction by lawmakers in the wake of the terrible Haiti earthquake of 2010, which killed 300,000 residents and created a homeless population of 100,000. Had the HFRP not been passed, many political analysts believe that President Obama would have taken executive action on this matter as a way of showing that the White House is ready to act on certain items covered by comprehensive immigration reform.
This family reunification program is by no means unique. Other nations are waiting for similar measures, but in this case it became a critical measure. Many of the Haitian immigrants who will be reunified with their families in the U.S. are currently living in harsh conditions. The U.S. has been actively involved in the reconstruction of Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, but the true support for the Caribbean community has been in the form of remittances, which last year accounted for nearly $2 billion. With more Haitian immigrants working in the U.S. and sending money back to the island, the reconstruction of Haiti can accelerate.
Sponsors who are currently in the U.S. may request assistance from their San Diego immigration lawyers with regard to details of this program. The U.S. National Visa Center is expected to contact sponsors in the U.S. directly starting next year, but general announcements on the program may be made beforehand.
For more information about immigration for Haitian families, reach out to Kazmi and Sakata Immigration Law. We are a professional law firm in San Diego, CA and can answer questions and assist families in need of help with family immigration visa applications. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule a free immigration consultation.