Immigration Benefits:

Applications for Adjustment of Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998

GGD-99-92R: Published: Apr 21, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1999.

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Norman J. Rabkin
(202) 512-3610


Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the number of Haitian nationals who have applied and been approved for adjustment of their status to legal permanent residence.

GAO noted that: (1) the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) have not yet received or approved any applications for adjustment of status under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998; (2) INS and EOIR expect to jointly publish interim regulations by the end of April or early in May; (3) according to INS officials, 30 days after the publication of the interim regulations, Haitian nationals will be able to file applications for adjustment of status; (4) accordingly, data on the number of applications received and the types of applicants should be available for GAO's next report, due October 21, 1999; (5) applications filed with INS are to be sent to INS' Nebraska Service Center; (6) INS has prepared draft procedures for adjudicating the applications; (7) to facilitate processing, INS plans to provide training for examiners, who are to adjudicate the applications, and for staff of nongovernmental organizations, who plan to assist Haitian nationals in completing and filing the applications; (8) data from the applications are to be coded according to the type of Haitian applicant; (9) the codes are to be entered in INS' Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS); (10) according to INS officials, CLAIMS has been modified to accept the codes; (11) generally, applications properly filed with EOIR by eligible Haitian nationals in proceedings are to be adjudicated by the immigration court; (12) according to EOIR, Haitian nationals who qualified for deferred enforced departure had their cases administratively closed following the President's announcement of the policy on December 23, 1997; (13) the deferred enforced departure policy delayed for 1 year the removal of qualifying Haitian nationals; and (14) it applied to any Haitian national who, prior to December 31, 1995, was paroled into the United States or applied for asylum, and who had been continuously present in the United States since that date.

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