Friday, April 9, 2010

USCIS to End Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans at Haitian Government's Request

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises that the Haiti government has requested that the U.S. provide it with a final list of orphans being considered under the Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans. As a result, USCIS has announced that it will stop accepting new requests for consideration under the special program as of April 14, 2010, and will resume regular processing of intercountry adoptions.

USCIS believes that the vast majority of adoption requests for orphans who meet the criteria of the special program have already been submitted under the program that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano authorized after the January 2010 earthquake which devastated Haiti. Parole was authorized for two specific and limited groups of Haitian children: (1) those who either had full and final adoptions completed by their U.S. parents before the earthquake and who were legally confirmed as eligible for intercountry adoption by the government of Haiti and (2) those who were far enough along in the adoption process that both the U.S. and Haitian governments could verify the identity and eligibility of the children for adoption and the U.S. government could confirm the suitability of the adoptive parents.

Since January 18, USCIS has authorized parole for more than 1,000 orphans under the special program, and, as of April 5, approximately 340 cases were still being considered. After April 13, 2010, intercountry adoption cases involving Haitian orphans will again be processed through normal procedures. USCIS advises that the government of Haiti has already begun accepting new documents for adoption cases and the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince has resumed regular processing. However, requests for humanitarian parole may be submitted through April 13. To initiate a case, send an e-mail to the HaitianAdoptions @dhs.gov mailbox, including in the subject line the last name of the prospective parent(s) and the name of the child(ren) to be adopted.

In addition, provide:
  • the names and date of birth of the adoptive parent(s) and the orphaned child(ren)
  • the address and contact information for the adoptive parent(s), the adoption-service provider, if applicable, and the caregiver for the child(ren) in Haiti
  • a signed Form G-28 or privacy waiver if the adoptive parent(s) want USCIS to communicate about the humanitarian parole request with an attorney or other representative
  • recent photo(s) of the child(ren)
  • documentation showing that each child either was being adopted prior to January 12, 2010 and was legally confirmed as an orphan available for intercountry adoption by the government of Haiti through an adoption decree or custody grant to suitable U.S. citizen adoptive parents or was being identified by an adoption-service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and matched to prospective American adoptive parents prior to January 12, 2010
If the adoptive parents are in the process of gathering the evidence necessary to establish eligibility for parole, they may still submit a request to the e-mail box before the deadline with an explanation of the evidence that they are seeking to obtain but should provide, at a minimum, full names and dates of birth of the Haitian child(ren) and the prospective adoptive parent(s) and contact information for the prospective adoptive parent(s).

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had taken a number of steps in response to the crisis created by the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Among them, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced an 18-month designation of temporary protected status (TPS) for Haiti. In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro N. Mayorkas, on January 15, 2010, issued a memorandum to field leadership entitled "Initial Relief Efforts for Aliens Affected by the January 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake." The memorandum provides interim field guidance for the various forms of relief that USCIS has committed to undertake as a result of the earthquake. The guidance applies to nationals and habitual residents of Haiti, some of whom may fall outside the scope of the TPS designation. Among the temporary relief discussed in the memorandum is humanitarian parole for adoptive children. Subsequent to the issuance of the memorandum, DHS Secretary Napolitano, in conjunction with the Department of State, issued a fact sheet and set of questions and answers addressing this humanitarian parole for orphans in more detail.

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