Executive Overreach for Haitians

HaitiansThe Department of Homeland Security and a host of benefit-providing federal agencies briefed advocates and stakeholders on January 29 on current planning for the advanced parole of Haitian immigrants program announced by the administration last October. This program, called the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HRFP) allows Haitians who are on a waiting list for an immigrant visa to come to the United States up to two years before they are eligible to receive the visa.

As the Federation for American Immigration Reform noted at the time the HRFP was first announced, “No legal authority exists for the president to parole broad categories of foreign nationals into the United States.” During the government’s briefing on how the program will be administered, the discussion was confined to the issue of the benefits that will be made available to the new arrivals and what implications that might have on their eventual ability to change their status to legal residence. According to DHS, the arriving Haitians would receive the same benefits already authorized under the Cuban-Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP) created pursuant to the Title V of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980.  In effect, Haitians are being treated in a similar fashion to Cubans who enter illegally and gain legal residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

The objective of equal treatment with Cubans has long been a goal of the Haitian immigrant community, and they received a major gain towards that goal at the same time the administration is pursuing normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

During the briefing session, there were numerous questions from state representatives and those of private voluntary organizations (PVOs) that will be tasked with providing services to the new flow of Haitian parolees. It was explained that the newcomers will be entitled to all of the benefits available to refugees even though they applied for admission as immigrants under one of the family-based priorities. Moreover, DHS is making them eligible for benefits, even though a family sponsor in the United States has provided a binding affidavit of support as part of the visa petition process. The newcomers will be immediately eligible for Medicare and SSI, and SNAP (the current acronym for Food Stamps) – unlike new immigrants who remain ineligible for those benefits for the first five years following their arrival.

The question was asked whether the receipt of those mean-tested benefits would make the newcomers ineligible for the eventual immigrant visa. The government’s response was “no.” The situation will be looked at when the decision is made to convert to legal permanent residence, and if the newcomer has by then found a job and earns enough to be self-supporting, the public charge ineligibility will be overcome.

The administration participants were unable to advise whether there will be any additional funding provided to the states that provide matching welfare funds for refugees. Neither could they say whether there would be additional funding for the PVOs that will be under contract to assist the settlement to the newcomers.

The discussion made clear that in addition to simply increasing the flow of immigration into the country, a power reserved to the Congress, one of the major impacts of the administration’s program will be the expansion of federal and state outlays to provide welfare benefits for this new population. For the states that have no say in whether to provide these benefits, it is apparently another unfunded mandate.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    What we’re still not hearing about is the huge number of Somali’s he’s bringing into this country.

  2. avatar

    Don’t Worry

    Our top-notch public schools will have them all inventing complex relativity and such with the science and math expertise the American schools are clearly known for, in a few years.

  3. avatar

    When he said he was going to fundamentaly change America in 5 days after he got elected he wasn’t feeding us a bunch of BS. He did it he acts like Jimmy Carter on Crack.

    • avatar

      I do not know…….you are clearly delusional since Obama alone did not create the Laws and got us where we r you bubba boy!!

      • avatar

        Now you’re catching on. The president has no constitutional authority to “create the laws”. He just acts like he does.

  4. avatar

    Another fine bunch we bring in. I worked with these birds in New York or I should say I attempted to work with them. If you got 1 out of 5 that actually worked you were lucky. It is a cultural norm for Haitians to sit on their back sides. But they are good at propagating. Look in the Caribbean Islands and you will see how every island detests Haitians. Their next door neighbors, the Dominicans are doing everything they can to throw them out. I’ve worked/ talked with Dominicans, Jamaicans, and Bahamans and they all have the same non-flattering opinion regarding Haitians. By the way slavery is still practiced in Haiti. Lookup Restavek where a family sells off a few of their SEVENTEEN plus children. The Yale University Colors magazine did a article on this practice some years back. These are the fine cultural values that Obama wants to import into America.

  5. avatar

    “the newcomers will be entitled to all of the benefits available to refugees”, including SSI, Medicare, and food stamps. Meanwhile, the American citizens of South Florida, where the majority of the Haitians will be going, struggle to put a meal on the table in the midst of low wages and sky high rentals. Your government and your president, putting the interests of residents of foreign countries before those of Americans.

    What a success our immigration policy is. Importing the poverty of other countries. But when you have a leader who for twenty years followed the rantings of an anti-white anti-American preacher, and has the rabble-rousing Al Sharpton as his “go to guy” on racial matters, what’s the surprise. Or his wife who contradicted her previous story of a trip to Target a couple years ago, now claiming she was disrespected. Of course, we know all this, and everyone pretends like none of it ever happened. Because…??? Never mind, we know.