In this new age, thoughts and actions pertaining to immigration are ever-changing. We hear about raids in neighborhoods where people are encouraged to stay inside, lock all doors and do not open for anyone under any circumstances. We hear about children coming home from school to find an empty home as a direct effect of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid. We hear a new update about the harsh realities families of immigrants living in this country are facing every single day. We sympathize with these families but never stop to think that one day, it could be us. This is not meant to scare, but to inform. The Trump Administration recently announced that the United States is ending the “Haitian Family Reunification Parole Programme”.
To break it down: the programme was originally launched in 2016, under the Obama Administration, which allowed thousands of Haitians who had already obtained an immigrant visa based on family reunification to wait in the country with their family for their green card to be available. Family reunification meant that the presence of one or more family members in a certain country enabled the rest of the divided family or only specific members of the family to immigrate to that country as well. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that the decision is in line with the 2017 Decree 13767 on improvements to border security and immigration enforcement.
In a quick summary, the order limits access to asylum (the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee), expands the use of detention, enhances enforcement along the U.S. – Mexico border, and ensures that parole into the U.S. is exercised on a case-by-case basis.
“Family reunification must be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. USCIS is committed to exercising this limited power in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage foreigners to enter the United States illegally,” said Acting Director of USCIS, Ken Cuccinelli.
Many public and political figures, have spoken out on the matter including head of the Family Action Network, Marleine Bastien, who said the stance taken by the United States is wrong. She feels, especially with the political crises in Haiti currently at a record high, that now is not the time for the Trump Administration to be rolling back protections for Haitian families.
If you have already applied to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR), this termination will not affect you. But, an estimated 50,000 Haitians who currently have temporary permission to legally live and work in the United States are set to lose that benefit on Jan. 2, 2020. A new extension was given by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in February of this year as a result of one of several Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – related lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to end TPS for Haitians and Central Americans.
Our political figures on the right side of the issue are fighting for the protection of our people. Until a definite decision is made, all we can do is continue to be aware, if you are so inclined, offer help and continue to pray for the state of this country.