Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UPDATE: Haiti February 24 Teleconference

Haiti Teleconference-February 24, 2010

PEAR was in attendance for the first hour of the teleconference.

The first 30 minutes were updates on

• This past weekend’s delay of 6 children
• Establishment of commercial flights to Haiti
• US Embassy hours of operation in Port Au Prince
• Information on the next steps for regularizing immigration status of children who were granted Humanitarian Parole.

Questions and Answers were taken after that. There was a reiteration of strong commitment to this Humanitarian Parole program from both Haitian and US governments.


The delay of 6 children that garnered much press were able to leave Haiti today. As commercial flights resumed at the airport on Friday February 19, the Haitian government was back in control of the airport for the first time. This group of children were the first to pass through the airport after the change of power. The Haitian police who were there to ensure proper documents were leery of the paperwork since they had not seen that type before. The Prime Minister’s signature was on all the paperwork and Haiti and US immigration officials were never in doubt of the authenticity of the paperwork. The Police wanted to double-check everything and the children were placed under UNICEF care in a Haitian facility until the process was clarified for the police. The Prime Minister will continue to approve each and every case that the US Embassy processes before each child will be able to leave Haiti.

Commercial Flights

There are now two American Airline commercial flights per day from Port Au Prince to Miami. All children will be processed through Miami. Spirit Air may begin flights soon. Charter flights may occur but the USCIS and DOS cannot guarantee those flights. In the event that children are scheduled on a charter flight and the charter flight fails to materialize, the children’s travel arrangements can be changed to commercial flights.

US Embassy Hours

The US Embassy in Port Au Prince has returned to regular hours for the public. They will be open Monday through Friday 7 AM to 3:30PM with the ability to schedule Saturday appointments. They will not be open on Sundays. Adoptive parents should continue to work with USCIS to get an appointment for their child.

Regularization of Immigration Status for Children on Humanitarian Parole

The issue of how to proceed is not dependent on Category I or Category II status, but rather will be based on documentation of a full and final adoption decree in Haiti.

If you have a full and final adoption decree that is documented, you may file an
I-600 and I-485.

If you do not have a full and final adoption decree, you can either

(1)wait and finalize the adoption in Haiti to gain legal status of your child and then file I-600 and I-485 (timeframe for the ability to do this is unknown at this time) or

(2) Obtain legal custody of your child in the US by adopting the child in the US. Then citizenship will be granted after 2 years of living with the child and 2 years of having physical custody of the child, which can be concurrent. The Humanitarian Parole timeframe can be extended as long as it is applied for before the time has expired. After the 2 year period, an I-130 and I 485 package can be filed. After I-485 is filed a Certificate of Citizenship can be issued and a US Passport can be issued.

Travel outside the US during this 2 year period may have limits. An I-131 form can be shown for entry back in to the US, but the foreign government may not accept the child into their country with the documents that parents may have during this time.

The child must be under 16 or have a sibling, who is under 16 that is being adopted at the same time in order to go through this process. If your child is older than 16 and does not have a sibling younger than 16 concurrently being adopted, a clear path is not yet established but USCIS and DOS will work with you individually.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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