The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the U.S. will be reopening an international field office in Havana, Cuba. The office will provide services to assist with benefits and services such as processing cases pending in the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) program and form I-730 Refugee/Asylee cases.
“This administration is taking steps to reduce unlawful entries, deny resources to ruthless smuggling organizations, and streamline access to lawful, safe, and orderly pathways for those seeking humanitarian relief. Reopening the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Havana helps us do just that,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Cubans like my own family, who nearly 63 years ago fled the communist takeover, deserve the same opportunity to follow legal pathways to build a new life in the United States. Our Department is committed to building and enforcing a lawful, humane, and secure immigration system, and we will continue to work with countries across the hemisphere and around the world to ensure it.”
The Havana field office will allow USCIS to provide limited refugee processing, collect biometrics for U Visa applications, and provide other assistance by appointment. The press release also indicates that USCIS will update the International Immigration Offices page in the coming weeks to provide additional information about services and appointments.
“Under the previous administration, USCIS officially closed the Havana Field Office on December 10, 2018, due to a reallocation of agency resources and the long-term suspension of operations in 2017 after the U.S. Department of State ordered all non-essential personnel and families to depart Cuba,” reads the statement.
In January, the Biden administration announced a new process to permit 30,000 individuals per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV). In order to come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization CHNV asylum seekers must have a U.S.-based financial supporter, pass vetting and background checks, and meet other established criteria.
“USCIS’ renewed presence in Cuba is part of an effort to restore USCIS’ footprint outside the United States,” the statement continued. “These efforts are consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to facilitate safe, legal, and orderly migration while discouraging irregular and dangerous maritime migration.”
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