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Notice

Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program

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AGENCY:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This Notice announces U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program. Under this program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is offering beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant visa petitions an opportunity to receive a discretionary grant of parole to come to the United States rather than remain in Cuba to apply for lawful permanent resident status. The purpose of the program is to expedite family reunification through safe, legal, and orderly channels of migration to the United States and to discourage irregular and inherently dangerous maritime migration.

DATES:

This Notice is effective November 21, 2007.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Manpreet S. Dhanjal, Refugee Officer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20529, Telephone (202) 272-1613.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

In furtherance of the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords, the United States endeavors to provide a minimum of 20,000 travel documents annually to aspiring Cuban emigrants. See Joint Communiqué on Migration, U.S.-Cuba (Sept. 9, 1994) (known together with the May 2, 1995 Joint Statement as the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords (hereinafter “Migration Accords”)). In so doing, the United States offers a safe, legal, and orderly means of coming to the United States. To date, the majority of travel documents issued under the Migration Accords fall into one of three programs: family-based immigrant visas; refugee resettlement; and parole under the Special Cuban Migration Program, also referred to as the Cuban Lottery. For information on the Cuban Lottery, see http://havana.usinterestsection.gov/​diversity_​program.html.

Two aspects of the existing array of migration programs limit the ability of the United States to effectively promote safe, legal, and orderly migration as an alternative to maritime crossings. First, with the exception of “immediate relatives” (e.g., spouse, unmarried child) of U.S. citizens (USCs), the number of family-based immigrant visas that are available in any given year is limited by statute. See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sections 201(c), 202(a) & 203, 8 U.S.C. 1151(c), 1152(a) & 1153. The statutory caps have resulted in long waiting periods before family members remaining in Cuba may rejoin the USCs and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) residing in the United States who petitioned for them. Second, the United States has not been permitted to hold a new registration period since 1998 due to constraints placed on the Cuban Lottery program by the Cuban Government. This greatly reduces the pool of individuals to whom the United States may issue travel documents.

For these reasons, this Notice adds the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program to the list of migrant programs based on which the United States issues travel documents under the Migration Accords.

II. The CFRP Program

Under the CFRP Program, USCIS may exercise its discretionary parole authority to permit eligible Cuban nationals to come to the United States to rejoin their family members. See INA section 212(d)(5)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)(A) (permits parole of an alien into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit); see also 8 CFR 212.5(c) & (d) (discretionary authority for granting parole). Granting parole to eligible aliens under the CFRP Program serves the significant public benefit of enabling the United States to meet its commitments under the Migration Accords as well as reducing the perceived need for family members left behind in Cuba to make irregular and inherently dangerous attempts to arrive in the United States through unsafe maritime crossings, thereby discouraging alien smuggling as a means to enter the United States. Whether to parole a particular alien remains, however, a case-by-case, discretionary determination.

III. Participation in the CFRP Program

USCIS will offer participation in the CFRP Program to Cuban nationals who reside in Cuba and who are the beneficiaries (including any accompanying or following to join spouse and children (see INA section 203(d), 8 U.S.C. 1153(d)) of a properly filed Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” that has been approved, but for which an immigrant visa is not yet immediately available.

Under the CFRP Program, USCIS or the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) will mail written notice to U.S.-based USC and LPR petitioners whose Forms I-130 have been approved regarding their beneficiary's eligibility to participate in the CFRP Program and the procedures for requesting parole. However, participation in the CFRP is voluntary. If USCIS exercises its discretion to grant parole, it will issue the necessary U.S. travel documents to the beneficiary in Cuba. These travel documents will enable the beneficiary to travel safely to the United States to rejoin his or her family members.

Participation in the CFRP Program is not available to aliens who qualify as “immediate relatives” under section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)(A)(i). The extraordinary benefit of parole is not needed for these aliens, since they may seek visas for travel to the United States immediately upon the approval of Form I-130.

Additional information about the CFRP Program will be posted at http://www.uscis.gov.

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Dated: November 15, 2007.

Emilio T. Gonzalez,

Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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[FR Doc. E7-22679 Filed 11-20-07; 8:45 am]

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