Last Friday, I was greatly heartened to see the Obama Administration announce that they will begin to expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitians.
Called the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) program, the program will accelerate family reunification for Haitians who are living in Haiti and have U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family members in the United States. Slated to commence in 2015, it will allow Haitians living in Haiti who already have an approved family-based immigrant visa petition to come to the United States and join their families about two years earlier than they could have without the program. Once in the United States, they will have the opportunity to apply for work authorization.
Family unity is a fundamental, underlying goal of our immigration system and a priority for LIRS, our network, and our coalition partners. The HFRP program illustrates the humane and compassionate actions that the Administration can implement to alleviate the suffering of migrants and refugees. We look forward to intended action by President Obama in the coming weeks to further alleviate the separation of families caused by our current outdated immigration system.
While this positive development for Haitians inspires optimism, we must still remember that for migrant and refugee families who remain separated, each day is extremely difficult. The Administration must seize all opportunities to help those waiting to rejoin families, and Congress must pass legislation to allow more migrant and refugee families to reunite.