Obama expedites US entry for Haitians

HaitiansHaitians eligible to receive green cards in a couple of years will be able to spend this time in the United States rather than in their home country, thanks to an expedited family reunification scheme announced last week by the Obama administration.

The US Department of Homeland Security will begin to implement the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program early in 2015 to speed up the reunification of eligible Haitian relatives of US permanent residents and citizens. These eligible relatives currently live in Haiti and have already been approved to receive a family-based immigrant US visa.

There are around 100,000 Haitians waiting in the immigration line in Haiti, but only those who are just two years away from receiving their US visa for their green card can apply. Once these individuals have been paroled into the United States they can put in an application for a work permit and wait to get a green card in the US.

Advocates for both Haitians and immigrants, who began the push to speed up family reunification following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12th 2010, have welcomed the change in policy but say that they intend to keep fighting for others who are stuck in the US visa backlog ‒ sometimes for as long as 12 years. “We are grateful that the administration has stepped up to the plate and done the right thing,” says Americans for Immigrant Justice executive director Cheryl Little.