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Update on Haitian Entrants Nov 2021

Date: 
11/22/2021
Author: 
Misc
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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 a MassHealth  Eligibility Operations Memo 20-11 (June 2020) describing the documents that can identify Cuban/Haitian Entrants.

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 citizenship.

We will be posting documents to assist advocates in understanding the circumstances and helping newly arriving Haitians to obtain health coverage and other benefits. Please let us know of any additional resources.

Haitians arriving in the US with only instruction to report to ICE. 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 released from detention including a Notice to Appear for Removal Proceedings.

Dual nationality of children born outside Haiti to Haitian parents. 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.

On Nov 8, 2021 Governor Baker wrote to US HHS Secretary Becerra asking for more federal guidance for  Haitian arrivals in Massachusetts to enable them to obtain federal benefits.  His letter is attached.