DHS Implements Family Reunification Parole Processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America seeking asylum in the United States. Many of these individuals are fleeing violence, poverty, and political instability in their home countries. The current administration's policies have made it difficult for them to reunite with their families in the US. In response, the implementation of Family Reunification Parole Processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would be a welcome development. Family Reunification refers to a category of immigration law that allows individuals with family members residing in the U.S. as citizens, Green Card holders, or refugees to bypass part of the
standard immigration process by virtue of their relatives.
Family Reunification Parole Announcement
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Friday, July 7, 2023 the implementation of new family reunification parole (FRP) processes for Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Parole, as defined by U.S. immigration law, is a benefit that allows individuals to enter and stay legally in the United States for a specified duration. These updated procedures are part of the Administration's strategy to handle migration within the region, which was initially revealed in April before the termination of the Title 42 public-health policy.
Starting from July 10, 2023, the official implementation of the Family Reunification Parole program has commenced for the four countries in Central and South America. This program enables eligible migrants from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to travel to the United States by air and obtain work permits issued by the government. Eligibility criteria would include individuals who have a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, or child, already in the United States. Moreover, they must satisfy certain security and processing criteria to be granted parole, thereby ensuring that they do not pose any security threats to the United States. These migrants must have their relatives who are either U.S. citizens or legal residents to submit visa applications on their behalf. The government has stated that it will admit at least 100,000 Latin Americans seeking to reunite with their families in the United States.
Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, stated that “These newly established procedures aim to strengthen family bonds and provide legal pathways in accordance with our laws and values”. Additionally, they will facilitate the expansion of secure, organized, and lawful channels, ultimately reducing the occurrence of perilous and irregular migration to the United States.
How to Apply?
The family reunification parole (FRP) processes are available by invitation only to a petitioner who filed an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a principal beneficiary who is a national of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras of, and their immediate family members. Through these processes, eligible beneficiaries have the opportunity to be evaluated for parole on a case-by-case basis, granting them temporary entry into the United States while they await the availability of their family-based immigrant visa.
Invitations to participate in these processes are mailed to certain petitioners whose Form I-130 is already approved. Petitioners who receive invitations can file Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, for principal and derivative beneficiaries of the Form I-130. A separate Form I-134A must be submitted for each beneficiary. If USCIS confirms the sufficiency of a petitioner’s Form I-134A, DHS will complete security vetting on each beneficiary and will consider each beneficiary for advance travel authorization on a case-by-case basis. If advance travel authorization is issued to the beneficiary, they will be able to come to an internal U.S. port of entry to seek a discretionary grant of parole. If granted parole, they may wait in the United States for their immigrant visa to become available and then apply to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident, if they are eligible. Individuals who are paroled into the United States under these processes may request employment authorization upon arrival in the US.
Qualifying beneficiaries must be outside the United States, meet all requirements, including screening and vetting and medical requirements, and must not have already received an immigrant visa. They must already have applied for a visa to join their family, who must be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder in the United States and they must not illegally cross into other countries from their homeland during this visa process.
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