WASHINGTON—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, today announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week’s earthquake.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help reunite families in Haiti during this very difficult time,” said Secretary Napolitano. “While we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here.”
Humanitarian parole into the United States may be granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to bring otherwise inadmissible individuals into the country on account of urgent humanitarian reasons or other emergencies. The humanitarian parole policy announced by Secretary Napolitano today will be applied on a case-by-case basis to the following children:
-- Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.
-- Children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.
Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian are subject to special procedures regarding their custody and care. DHS coordinates with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement on the cases of these unaccompanied minors.
Today’s announcement expands the humanitarian relief that the U.S. Government is extending to Haitians in response to the devastation caused by the earthquake. Last week, Secretary Napolitano announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals who were physically present in the United States as of Jan. 12, 2010—allowing eligible Haitian nationals to continue living and working in the United States for the next 18 months. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after Jan. 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated
More information about humanitarian parole and TPS is available at www.uscis.gov or by calling USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283. DHS encourages U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send us detailed information about their cases to HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov.