< Back to Search

State Letter #01-22

Clarification of Acceptable Documentation for Category One "Cuban and Haitian Entrants"

Published: August 15, 2001
Types:
State Letter

TO: STATE REFUGEE COORDINATORS
NATIONAL VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

FROM: Carmel Clay-Thompson,
Acting Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement

SUBJECT: Clarification of Acceptable Documentation for Category One "Cuban and Haitian Entrants"

This State Letter reviews the definition of Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants" and clarifies the acceptable documentation these individuals may present when they apply for ORR-funded benefits and services. The change in the acceptable documentation affecting the greatest number of "Cuban and Haitian entrants" is that ORR now will accept an expired I-94 Arrival/Departure Card showing parole on or after April 21, 1980 as proof that a Cuban or Haitian is a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant."

Definition
"Cuban and Haitian entrants" are eligible for ORR-funded benefits and services, provided they meet other eligibility criteria, such as income. In determining whether someone is a "Cuban and Haitian entrant," ORR uses the definition in the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 (the Act). The Act outlines four main categories of individuals who are considered "Cuban and Haitian entrants." This State Letter only concerns individuals in the first category (Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants"). According to the Act, a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" is:

Any individual granted parole status as a Cuban/Haitian Entrant (Status Pending) or granted any other special status subsequently established under the immigration laws for nationals of Cuba or Haiti, regardless of the status of the individual at the time assistance or services are provided.

Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980, as amended, § 501(e)(1), 8 U.S.C.
§ 1522 note (emphasis added).
Under ORR's interpretation of this section of the Act, the following individuals are Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants":

Any alien who is a national of Cuba or Haiti and, regardless of the status of the alien at the time the alien is an applicant for benefits and services:

(a) has been granted status as a Cuban/Haitian Entrant (Status Pending) on or after April 21, 1980;

or

(b) has been paroled into the United States on or after October 10, 1980, unless the alien was paroled into the United States in the custody of a Federal, State or local law enforcement or prosecutorial authority, for purposes of criminal prosecution in the United States, or solely to testify as a witness in proceedings before a judicial, administrative, or legislative body in the United States.

Noting the language "regardless of the status of the alien at the time the alien is an applicant for benefits and services," ORR does not consider an individual's current immigration status relevant in making an eligibility determination for Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants." Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants" must show only that they met the definition at some point. Once meeting the definition of Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" these individuals do not lose the status by attaining another immigration status or by falling out of the immigration status that initially made them Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants." Even a removal order will not change the Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" status, although ORR would not consider a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" to retain that status after actual removal from the United States.

Documentation

The following chart, which lists the acceptable documents for Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrants," was printed in State Letter #00-17. The chart remains current. However, this State Letter clarifies that the I-94 Arrival/Departure Card with a stamp showing parole into the U.S. on or after April 21, 1980 may be expired. In other words, if, on December 1, 2001, a Cuban national applies for benefits and presents an I-94 Arrival/Departure Card with a stamp showing parole into the U.S. on November 15, 2000 and the card expired on November 15, 2001, the individual remains a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" and the benefit-granting agency may accept the I-94 as proof of that status. In addition, the other documents that show an individual is a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" may be expired. As noted above, a Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant's" current immigration status is irrelevant in making an eligibility determination for ORR-funded benefits. Therefore, it is irrelevant that the documents confirming Category One "Cuban and Haitian entrant" status are expired.