Update on Haitian Entrants


Feb 2022 UPDATED MassHealth Guidance on Cuban-Haitian Entrants https://www.mass.gov/doc/eom-22-03-eligibility-rules-for-cuban-and-haitian-entrants-0/download

 Background Information on Newly Arriving Haitians

Recently, hundreds of Haitian families, many with children, have arrived in Massachusetts after crossing the border from Mexico. Most arrived with little or nothing and will need assistance until they can obtain legal assistance and work authorization. Many of these families will be able to qualify for federal benefits because for benefits purposes they are considered “Cuban/Haitian Entrants.” Cuban/Haitian Entrants qualify for federal benefits like MassHealth Standard, SNAP and TAFDC and also benefits as refugees.

Haitians paroled into the US, in removal proceedings (but without a final order), applicants for asylum, and certain others are considered Cuban/Haitian Entrants. There is an updated Feb 2022 MassHealth Eligibility Operations Memo describing the documents that can identify Cuban/Haitian Entrants. https://www.mass.gov/doc/eom-22-03-eligibility-rules-for-cuban-and-haitian-entrants-0/download

However, immigration documents will rarely use the term “Cuban/Haitian Entrant” and arriving immigrants are unlikely to be familiar with this term. In addition, the most recent wave of  Haitian immigrants also include some families who have documents telling them to report to ICE but who have not yet been paroled or put into removal proceedings. Until they are processed further, these immigrants are in the US under color of law (PRUCOL), but may not yet be Cuban/Haitian Entrants. Also some Haitian families have arrived in the US after a stay in another country like Brazil or Chile. Their children may have passports from those countries rather than Haiti, and some benefit agencies may be uncertain how to verify their Haitian nationality/citizenship.

Haitians arriving in the US with only instruction to report to ICE. Under the Feb 2022 Eligibility Operations Memo, immigrants ordered to report to ICE but not yet in removal are not considered Haitian Entrants, but advocates have been able to obtain PRUCOL for them on a case by case basis. If these immigrants later obtain documents showing they are in removal or if they are later granted parole, these documents should be accepted as proof they are Haitian Entrants. According to news accounts,  immigrants crossing into the US from Mexico were sometimes released from detention with instructions to report to ICE but without being notified to appear for formal removal proceedings.  In early November, USCIS began mailing out notices about formal removal proceedings to 78,000 of these migrants. See, U.S. to send deportation case notices to 78,000 migrants who were not fully processed BY CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ,  UPDATED ON: NOVEMBER 8, 2021 / 12:10 PM / CBS NEWS 

Attached is a redacted copy of I-385 “Alien Booking Record” to report to ICE within 60 days for a Haitian individual who was not initially paroled.

Attached is a sample package of documents being mailed to these migrants who were not fully processed when they were initially released from detention including a Notice to Appear for Removal Proceedings.

Dual nationality of children born outside Haiti to Haitian parents. Under the Feb 2022 Eligibility Operations memo proof of Haitian nationality or citizenship for one or both parents of children born outside Haiti should be accepted as proof that the children are Haitian. Attached is an email from GBLS Attorney Naomi Meyer to the Regional officials of the Food and Nutrition Service explaining why these children are Haitian citizens under applicable law and may be eligible for benefits as Haitian Entrants. and a later Dec 2021 Memo from DTA clarifying that children born outside of Haiti may verify their Haitian nationality by showing they were born to Haitian parents. MassHealth adopted the same view a few months later.