HAITIAN REFUGEE ACT PROVIDES HAITIANS WITH CHANCE TO STAY IN UNITED STATES

By Edward Shulman (383 words)
Posted in Immigration Law on April 30, 2014

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Haiti has for many decades been among the poorest on the planet. For many years the country suffered from coups which caused its elected political leadership to be forced out of the country. Back in 1998 Congress passed the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) to establishes the procedures that eligible Haitians will use to file for adjustment to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status pursuant to section 902 of that statute.  The purpose of the statute was to recognize that some Haitians who are present in the United States may be unable to return due to the heightened concern they could be imperiled if they return to their country.

In order to qualify for HRIFA status, the USCIS requires that the individual:

 

    • Be a national of Haiti

    • Qualify as a dependent applicant under HRIFA (see below)

    • Is admissible to the United States

    • Is physically present in the United States when the application is filed

    • Has been continuously present in the United States since December 31, 1995 (This requirement only applies to unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21 of the principal applicant.)

Spouses of such applicants must have already been married to the applicant before that individual became a  permanent resident. For a child of such a petitioner to also be granted residency status, he or she must have been under 21 years of age at the time his or her parent was granted permanent residency. Furthermore, the child must also be unmarried at the time. Applicants will need to show proof of permanent residency since the last date of 1995 as shown above. This deadline reflects Congressional intent that this accommodation to Haitian refugees be applicable merely to those affected by the political strife which occurred in that island country at the time.

The Shulman Law Group, LLC has successfully handled and effectuated many HRIFA cases.  The firm and its staff are well-versed in the nuances and underpinnings of the particular issues of Haiti.  What sets our firm apart from other law offices is that we skillfully prepare comprehensive applications that include autobiographical statements, affidavits from friends, family and colleagues, psychological evaluations, and expert witness testimonials and evidence of continuous residency--strategies that predispose the applicant to a higher probability of an approval.

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