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DHS Opens Door to New Immigrants from Haiti, Extends Special Protections For Honduran, Nicaraguan Immigrants

DHS Opens Door to New Immigrants from Haiti, Extends Special Protections For Honduran, Nicaraguan Immigrants

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The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that is will be extending Temporary Protected Status to nationals from Honduras and Nicaragua for an additional 18 months and instituting a new program to bring thousands of Haitian immigrants to U.S. 

Temporary Protected Status is a designation the DHS secretary may declare for certain foreign countries if “conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”

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The status allows the protected nationals — in this case those from Honduras and Nicaragua — to remain and be eligible to work in the United States.

Honduran and Nicaraguan nationals must apply to extend their TPS between Oct. 16, 2014 through Dec. 15, 2014 and the 18 month extension will run from Jan. 6, 2015, through July 5, 2016. They will also need to re-apply for work authorizations. 

Additionally, DHS announced a new program to allow thousands, the Miami Herald reported, of Haitians to legally come to the United States. 

According to DHS, the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program will expedite the “family reunification” of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have family members in Haiti by allowing such immigrants whose family-based visa petitions have already been approved come to the U.S. two years early.

“The rebuilding and development of a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States,” Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “The Haitian Family Reunification Parole program promotes a fundamental underlying goal of our immigration system – family reunification.”

The program will also allow the new immigrants to apply for work permits. 

“Legal authority for the HFRP program is provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act which authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to parole into the United States certain individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” DHS explained in a release Friday. “This is the same legal authority used to establish the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program in 2007.”

An aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) noted that these re-authorizations and new program is coming at a time when the middle class is struggling, 48 million Americans are in poverty and net unemployment growth in the U.S. has largely gone to immigrants since 2000. 

“As numerical context for these executive actions, keep in mind that the Census Bureau reports that total immigration levels have reached a record 41.3 million,” the aide emailed. “Each year, the US issues 1 million green cards to permanent immigrants (largely lesser-skilled), 700,000 guest worker permits, 500,000 foreign students, and 70,000 refugees and asylees.”


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