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What Is the New DHS Humanitarian Program?

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigration program that went into effect in January 2023. This program addresses Haitian, Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan nationals who lack or are currently illegible for an immigration visa. Through this humanitarian effort, the US seeks to make entry to the US legal, quick, and safe for prospective immigrants.

This initiative is modeled after the successful Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program launched in 2022. Months after its initiation in April last year, the U4U initiative became one of the most successful humanitarian programs in the US. The DHS now aims to apply the same concept for its new policy viewing Haitian, Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan immigrants.

Since January 6, 2023, the DHS has raised its travel authorization limit to 30,000 authorizations per month for future Haitian, Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan residents. This is a broad change from October 2022, when the US offered 24,000 authorizations, which were restricted to Venezuelan immigrants only.

Like the U4U initiative, this new humanitarian program is based on a sponsorship model. Foreign nationals who have a sponsor in the US can seek legal entry into the country. The admission process relies on humanitarian parole, which gives the DHS the freedom to judge requests on a case-by-case basis. Applicants in need of urgent humanitarian aid are of top priority.

Purpose Of the Program

The goal of this new initiative is to provide more opportunities for lawful migration, thereby making entry into the US safe and accessible for foreign nationals who are otherwise not legible for a visa.

Once approved, those with travel authorization can seek a temporary parole period of up to two years. Those who are granted legal entry and residence into the US will be able to apply for work authorization and a social security number once they arrive in the country.

The DHS hopes this new program will not only increase border security but also help protect prospective immigrants seeking asylum in the US. By reducing unauthorized migration, especially through dangerous routes, the DHS anticipates an increase in domestic security while simultaneously combatting smuggling networks and human trafficking.

Who Is Eligible for Humanitarian Parole?

The parole process is entirely free, and the application process is carried out online. Applicants must meet a set of eligibility criteria to gain entry. To participate, an eligible beneficiary must:

  • Be a national of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, or Nicaragua (or an immediate family member of another nationality traveling with said national, e.g.: a spouse, common-law partner, or a child under the age of 21).
  • Live outside the US.
  • Have a US-based supporter who filed a Form I-134A on their behalf and who can grant financial and other support.
  • Undergo and pass national security and public safety vetting.
  • Comply with vaccination requirements and other public health guidelines.
  • Demonstrate a need for parole based on urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.

More information on the application and admission process are available online on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services page.

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