[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#2930: INS Press Release (fwd)

From: Merrill Smith <advocacy@bellatlantic.net>

INS News Release 

March 21, 2000 

INS Publishes Final Regulations for HRIFA
INS Extends Parole Requests for Eligible Haitians Beyond March 31, 2000

WASHINGTON — The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) today
announced the publication of final regulations governing the procedures
under which eligible Haitian nationals may apply for benefits under the
Haitian Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA). These final regulations will
be published in the Federal Register on March 23, 2000 and will take
effect that same date. They replace the interim rules published May 12,

The Service also announced today that effective April 1, 2000, and until
further notice, the INS Nebraska Service Center will continue to accept
and process requests for advance parole authorization filed by
qualifying Haitian dependents of persons who have applied for adjustment
of status under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA). 

Signed into law on October 21, 1998, HRIFA provides immigration benefits
and relief from deportation to certain Haitian nationals. HRIFA allows
eligible Haitians to obtain lawful permanent residence (LPR) status—the
right to live and work in the United States permanently—without applying
for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consular office overseas, and waives
many of the usual requirements for this benefit. INS estimates that
approximately 50,000 Haitians are eligible for HRIFA benefits

Following a 60-day public comment period and a thorough review by
officials of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for
Immigration Review (EOIR) and INS, the following changes were made to
the HRIFA rules:

The Final Rule: 

The regulation allows the applicant to submit a letter showing that
documentation from Haiti (e.g., birth certificate) has been requested
instead of having the documentation in hand. The applicant needs to
bring this document to the interview with the INS official. A Service
officer or Immigration Judge may consider other evidence to obtain
documents if an attempt is unsuccessful. 

Provides that the local police clearance requirement may be waived if a
locality is known not to provide such documentation. 

Provides for the determination of whether an applicant qualifies as a
"child without parents in the United States" on the existence of a
parent/child relationship and not the physical location of the parent in
the United States. 

Broadens the definition of "orphan" to include those individuals where
one parent was lost and presumed dead by the Haitian government and the
sole remaining parent is unable to provide proper care and provides a
written release to the child for immigration to the United States. 
Broadens the term "orphan" to include those whose parents died after the
child reached the age of 21, if the child meets all other requirements
of HRIFA. 

Provides that an applicant does not need to submit evidence that he or
she has been officially declared an abandoned child, but may submit
evidence demonstrating that he or she meets the requirements of laws
governing abandonment in state of residence. Provides that in
adjudicating 212(g) and waiver requests from statutorily eligible
persons, INS and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) will
take into account conditions in Haiti at the time of departure and
whether a person was paroled to receive HIV/AIDS medical treatment. 

The final rule removes the "90-days guideline" which requires applicants
to provide one document every 3 months to demonstrate continuity of
physical presence in the United States. 

Changes in Procedures for HRIFA

Given the tight deadline, applications may be submitted at a local INS
district office, sub-office or service center during the March 27-31,
2000 time period. 

On Friday, March 31,2000 only these offices will make special
arrangements for last minute HRIFA filers up until midnight that day. 

If a principal applicant submits his or her application before the
filing deadline (March 31, 2000) with a request for a waiver of the
filing fee, but that fee waiver request is subsequently denied by the
INS, the applicant will be sent written notice of that decision. He or
she will then have 30 days from the date of the decision in which to
submit the required filing fee. If the fee is submitted within that
30-day period, the application will be considered to have been filed by
the statutory filing deadline, even if the fee is received after April
1, 2000. 

Advance Parole Authorization

An eligible individual who seeks an advance parole authorization under
HRIFA should file INS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with
the USINS Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87245, Lincoln, NE
68501-7245. The application must be accompanied by the filing fee of $95
for Form I-131 and a photocopy of the complete INS Form I-485,
Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status, which the
requestor will file once he or she arrives in the United States. The
applicant must include photocopies of all the supporting documentation
listed on Forms I-485 and I-485 Supplement C, HRIFA Supplement to Form
I-485 Instructions. However, the applicant should not submit the filing
fee for the Form I-485, the medical report, the fingerprint card or the
local police clearances. 

HRIFA Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for HRIFA benefits, a Haitian must belong to one of the
five classes specified in section 902 (b) of HRIFA; must have been
continuously physically present in the United States since December 31,
1995; and must not be inadmissible to the United States under any
grounds of inadmissibility for which HRIFA does not specifically provide
an exception. Certain dependents are also eligible. The classes
described in section 902 (b) include any Haitian national who: 

Filed for asylum before December 31, 1995; 

Was paroled into the United States before December 31, 1995, after
having been identified as having a credible fear of persecution, or
paroled for emergency reasons or reasons deemed strictly in the public
interest; or 

Was a child (i.e., unmarried and under 21) at the time of their arrival
and on December 31, 1995; and

Arrived in the United States without parents and has remained in the
United States without parents; or 

Became orphaned after arriving in the United States; or Was abandoned by
their parents or guardians prior to April 1, 1998, and has remained

"Continuously physically present" is defined as no more than a total of
180 days outside the United States between December 31, 1995 and the
date the HRIFA adjustment application is granted. INS regulations
provide limited circumstances under which absences may not count toward
the 180-day limit.

Additionally, certain dependents (i.e., the Haitian spouse, child or
unmarried son or daughter) of a principal applicant for adjustment under
HRIFA may apply for adjustment of status under HRIFA. The March 31
deadline does not apply to such dependents. Dependents of HRIFA
principal applicants are reminded that in order to be eligible for HRIFA
adjustment, spouses and children "under age 21" must be physically
present in the United States at the time they apply, and unmarried sons
or daughters age 21 or older must establish that they have been
continuously physically present in the United States since December 31,

Dependent children who are approaching their 21st birthday and cannot
demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the
United States since December 31, 1995 are advised that the Service will
deny an applicant's parole request if it determines that it is not
feasible to process the request and issue the travel document in
sufficient time for the applicant to travel to the United States, file a
HRIFA adjustment application and have that application completely
adjudicated before the applicant's 21st birthday. 

Further information regarding HRIFA can be obtained by accessing the INS
Web site, www.ins.usdoj.gov, or through INS' customer service number,
1-800 375-5283, or TTY, 1-800 767-1833, (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6
p.m. Eastern Time). All HRIFA forms can be obtained through the INS Web
site or by calling the INS toll-free number 1-800-870-3676, 24 hours a
– INS –
Merrill Smith
Haiti Advocacy, Inc.
1309 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20003-2302
(202) 544-9084
(202) 547-2952 fax