According to the Board of Appeals, a federal ruling would prevent thousands of Cubans who recently arrived across the border with Mexico from obtaining residency in the United States.
This is because the documents that the federal authorities gave to the Cubans make them ineligible to obtain the Green Card. This decision could affect a large number of Cubans who received a Form I-220A.
If you are in this or a similar situation, our immigration lawyers in New Jersey can help you.
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What Does This Federal Ruling Mean For Cubans?
On September 11, 2023, the Board of Immigration Appeals of the United States Department of Justice ruled against considering the I-220A as a humanitarian parole. This “parole” would have allowed eligible immigrants to apply for the Cuban Adjustment Act.
This law was enacted in 1966 and since then, it has allowed eligible Cubans to adjust their status in the United States to that of permanent resident. However, this only occurred one year and one day after arriving in the US. However:
- Cubans who received an I-220A form have faced certain difficulties in using this law and obtaining residency.
- The new decision concluded that entering the US with this document is different from receiving a humanitarian parole. Additionally, Cubans with an I-220A will not be eligible to change their immigration status.
As if that were not enough, the new decision is limited to appealing the cases, following conventional legal paths (such as asylum in the United States), or deportation.
We emphasize that if an immigrant is in danger of being deported from the US, it does not mean the end of their stay in this country. This is because they may qualify for some immigration relief, such as cancellation of removal. At our firm, we can help you understand the legal options available.
Why Was This Ruling Considered?
According to the court, the I-220A document (also known as “conditional parole”) was considered not to meet the inspection and admission requirements. This is as required by the Cuban Adjustment Law.
In fact, the Board of Immigration Appeals indicated that:
Release under conditional parole is legally distinct from release under humanitarian parole.
It should be noted that certain Cubans who crossed the border may be eligible to receive the Green Card under the Cuban Adjustment law. However, these must:
- Have been released under humanitarian parole (identified with a wet stamp); and
- Border protection services may include a periodic reporting order and/or require the use of an electronic tracker.
This decision came after an appeal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the decision of an immigration judge in 2022. This decision granted the benefit of residence through Cuban adjustment to immigrants under the modality of release through form I-220A.
Likewise, the path towards the adjustment law has been increasingly narrower, highlighting that in 2017, President Barack Obama repealed the “wet foot, dry feet” law. This law allowed those Cubans who entered irregularly and/or who did not comply with the admission requirement, which now constitutes a sine qua non condition to be eligible for the benefit of the Cuban adjustment law.
How Does This Affect Asylum Seekers?
Individuals with a Form I-220A can apply for asylum and attempt to demonstrate a plausible risk of persecution. However, you will have pending asylum status and will be required to renew your work permits every two years, as long as your asylum case remains active in immigration court.
Although this decision generates great uncertainty and anguish in the Cuban community, the Cuban congresswoman, María Elvira Salazar, insisted that:
There is hope. The administration of Joe Biden and the Secretary of the DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, know very well that they would leave almost half a million Cubans who have the I-220A form in limbo.
Despite this, from October 2021 to July 2023, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted more than 400 Cubans. This in the irregular crossings across the southwest border with Mexico.
Likewise, there are almost 200,000 Cubans who are in the United States with an I-220A form awaiting a decision on their situation.
Curbelo Law In Helping Cuban Immigrants In The United States
The Curbelo Law firm is led by attorney Carolina T. Curbelo, who is the daughter of Cuban refugees. Our lawyer grew up hearing stories from her parents and grandparents who fled political persecution in Cuba.
For this reason, our lawyer understands perfectly what Cuban immigrants (and any other immigrant) are going through. At Curbelo Law we will fight to help our clients become legal in the country.
From asylum requests to humanitarian paroles, our lawyer and her associate, attorney Sharon Lieberman, have extensive experience in all types of immigration procedures in the United States. With over 10 years of experience, they will be able to help anyone interested in navigating these complex immigration matters. Call us today so we can guide you about your immigration scenario.