The U.S. Embassy in Cuba said Wednesday it has approved the first citizens of the island who applied for the urgent humanitarian permit (parole) to emigrate to the northern nation.
“The first Cuban citizens have already been approved for the new parole program to the United States since the program began last Friday. These people will now benefit from legal, safe and orderly migration instead of attempting irregular and dangerous routes,” the embassy said on Twitter.
The United States announced on January 5 that it will allow the monthly entry of up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela over the next two years, as a measure to control the flow of people arriving irregularly at its southern border.
According to official statistics, some 225,000 Cubans arrived at the southern border of the United States between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022, in the midst of one of the largest migratory waves in the history of the island.
Washington has already announced that migrants who arrive irregularly in the US will be expelled under the health rule known as Title 42, in coordination with Mexico.
On Friday The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services released details about the new parole program for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans that was announced Thursday by President Joe Biden.
Initially created for Venezuelans, the program will allow up to 30,000 nationals from the four countries to live and work in the United States for up to two years. If you want to sponsor a Cuban immigrant or you are a Cuban on the island who wants to use this program to live in the United States, here is how it works and how you can apply.
Who can benefit from this program?
Cuban citizens living outside the United States (in Cuba or a third country) who do not have citizenship, residency, or refugee status in a third country may qualify for this program. You can travel with your relatives. Minor children must travel with at least one parent or legal guardian. If you are Cuban and currently in a third country, if you enter Panama or Mexico without a visa after the program’s announcement on Thursday, Jan. 5, that disqualifies you from benefiting from this initiative. The same will happen if you cross the U.S. border without authorization after that date.
What do you need to apply?
You will need a sponsor in the United States who agrees to cover certain costs during your stay, including medical expenses. The sponsor can be a family member, a non-relative or an organization. You will also need internet access, email, a smartphone, a valid passport, and the money to pay for a ticket to the United States.
How does the program work?
Your sponsor must complete Form I-134A Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support and submit the requested documents to verify that they have the necessary financial resources. If the sponsor’s application is approved, you will receive an email from USCIS to create an online account and other instructions. Later, you will receive instructions to download the CBP One app.
You will need to provide personal information and a photo and ensure that you have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and other necessary vaccinations. If the vaccine the Cuban applicant received is not authorized in the United States (such as vaccines produced in Cuba), you must ensure that upon arrival in the United States you will receive at least one dose of a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. After the information is verified and the application is approved, the Cuban beneficiary will receive a notification to check their account online.
You will receive an “advance authorization to travel to the United States” valid for 90 days. This authorization is not a visa or a parole. It only allows you to arrive at an airport in the United States. The applicant must pay the airfare and travel expenses to the final destination. This program is not valid at the U.S. border with Mexico; that is, you cannot arrive with an advanced travel authorization and request parole at a land port of entry.
Do I have to do any paperwork at the United States Embassy in Havana? No. Everything is done online and over the phone.
What happens once you arrive at the airport in the United States?
A Customs and Border Protection agent will decide whether to grant you parole under this program after further verification, which includes taking biometric data such as fingerprints. Similar to visas, Citizenship and Immigration Services advises that approval of advance travel authorization does not guarantee entry into the United States and that agents have the discretion to grant parole “due to urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”
Some of the reasons you could be turned away at the airport include posing “a threat to the national security or public safety” of the United States.
Can I work after entering the United States? Yes, you can apply for a Social Security card and work permit under this program.
Can I apply for permanent residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act? “Yes absolutely.
Cubans who enter the United States under this new process [do so] legally and can apply after a year to adjust their status under that law,” Blas Nuñez-Neto, acting assistant secretary for Border Policy and Immigration at the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters on Friday. For more information, you can visit the website https://www.uscis.gov/CHNV, which will also be available in Spanish soon.
On September 2022, the Biden administration announces it would fully resume immigrant visa processing at the American embassy in Havana in early 2023 as part of an effort to discourage illegal immigration from Cuba, which has seen record numbers of its citizens flee to the U.S.-Mexico border over the past year.
When the policy change takes effect, Cubans sponsored by their U.S.-based relatives will no longer need to travel to Guyana for interviews with U.S. consular officers, one of the required steps in the immigrant visa process. Instead, all Cubans applying for visas to come to the U.S. will undergo these interviews at the embassy in Havana.
The upcoming shift will fully reverse the Trump administration’s decision in 2017 to halt visa processing in Cuba and require applicants to undergo interviews at the U.S. embassy in Guyana. The Biden administration had restarted limited visa processing in Havana earlier this year.
The State Department, which oversees consular officers, also announced the U.S. will dispatch additional immigration caseworkers to Cuba to expedite applications for the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program, which the Biden administration revived this summer after its suspension by the Trump administration.
The program, first launched in 2007, allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have successfully sponsored their relatives in Cuba for an immigration visa to apply for their family members to enter the U.S. before their visas become available.
Meanwhile in Washington DC, Cuban-American lawyer Jose Pertierra called incoherent recent measures US President Joe Biden took on irregular migration, when the Cuban Adjustment Act (1966) is still in force today.
The lawyer told the Cuban television that the Biden administration said its new program has the purpose of discouraging the illegal migration of Cubans to the United States, but leaves untouched a policy that encourages it.
He indicated that according to figures released by Washington in fiscal year 2022 more than 213,000 Cubans entered US territory illegally.
Pertierra pointed out that the United States intends to allow a limited number of Cubans to enter the country for two years through the selective application of the so-called parole process, but at the same time those who do not qualify will be expelled.
However, he stressed, it is an inconsistent decision, since “Cubans continue to have a privileged position with respect to other migrants, because once in the United States the Cuban Adjustment Act allows them to apply for permanent residency after a year and a day”.
In this sense, Pertierra believes that after this news it is possible that the United States “will review the sanctions it has applied to the Caribbean nation and the Cuban Adjustment Act”.
(Periódico Digital Centroamericano y del Caribe)
Source: News Agencies