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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Danielle Beach-Oswald

Blogging: Legislative Update – End of Parole Program for Russian Refugees

 

Congress 

The United States harbors refugees fleeing their countries due to persecution or fear of persecution on the account of race, nationality, religion, and political opinion. The Lautenberg Amendment to the 1990 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act allowed certain individuals from the former Soviet Union or from Estonia, Latvia,or Lithuania who have been denied refugee status to be inspected and paroled into the U.S. on a humanitarian basis. The Lautenberg Amendment also gave certain Southeast Asian groups parole status but this particular provision of the amendment expired mid-1994. (Parole is the act of allowing someone who does not meet visa requirements into the country for humanitarian reasons.) The provision was mainly used for prosecuted Jews, Evangelical Christians, and Ukrainian Christians within the former Soviet bloc. The individuals were selected and processed in Moscow through the Moscow Parole Program before they were permitted to enter the U.S. Once the Lautenberg parolees arrived in the U.S, they could apply for a green card after one year of residence.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer offer parole to Lautenberg category members who are denied refugee status in Moscow because Congress has voted not to extend this specific Lautenberg Amendment provision this year. Because this provision has not been renewed, it is due to expire after September 30, 2011. Individuals who have been offered parole by USCIS in Moscow should make arrangements to arrive in the US before September 30th, when their parole status to enter the U.S. expires.

More information about this is available at http://immigration.hias.org/en/pages/whats-new