Trump admin ends family-based reunification programs
The Trump administration is moving to end family-based reunification programs for Haitians and Filipino World War II veterans.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Friday that it will terminate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program and the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, which were designed to promote family reunification.
“Parole” programs allow certain family members of US citizens or Green Card holders to temporarily enter or remain in the United States, even if they would otherwise not be allowed entry.
The administration argues that these should be done on a “case-by-case” basis, rather than category.
The Filipino World War II program went into effect in 2016, allowing some veterans and their spouses to request certain family members be allowed into the US.
Last month, Sen. Mazie Hirono, who lobbied for the program during the Obama administration, encouraged eligible veterans last month to apply for the program, which was set to expire in June 2021.
“Facing a decades-long visa backlog, thousands of our aging Filipino World War II Veterans have been unable to reunite with their family members still living in the Philippines,” Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said in a statement at the time. “But thanks to the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, nearly 300 families have been reunited in America.”
The Haitian program was created in 2014 to “promote family unity” and support Haiti’s long term reconstruction and development through potential remittances, according to USCIS.
At the start of the program, the immigration agency estimated it would conduct approximately 5,000 Haitian program interviews a year.
The issue of parole has gotten increased attention recently, after reports that the administration was moving to scale back similar benefits that are offered to military families.
“Under these categorical parole programs, individuals have been able to skip the line and bypass the proper channels established by Congress. With the termination of these programs, these individuals will no longer be permitted to wait in the United States for their family-based green card to become available, consistent with the rules that apply to the rest of the world,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli.