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May 31, 2001

INS Implements NACARA/HRIFA Provision of the LIFE Act

WASHINGTON – The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published today in the Federal Register a regulation that provides relief to certain persons who previously were not eligible for the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) or the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA) because they were ordered removed from the United States. It allows such persons to reopen their removal proceedings so that they may apply for adjustment of status under NACARA or HRIFA. Eligible persons must apply to reopen their cases on or before June 19, 2001.

This regulation implements a provision of the Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act and LIFE Act Amendments—enacted on December 21, 2000—which changes Section 202 of NACARA and Section 902 of HRIFA. INS estimates that approximately 10,000 persons may be eligible for this benefit.

This provision allows two groups of individuals to file motions to reopen their cases, on or before June 19, 2001, so that they may subsequently apply to become lawful permanent residents under NACARA or HRIFA:

Nationals of Nicaragua, Cuba or Haiti who had previously applied for adjustment of status under NACARA or HRIFA but were denied because they had re-entered the United States illegally after:
– Having been removed from the United States; or,
– Having left the United States voluntarily while under an order of removal.

Such individuals were inadmissible under immigration law and, therefore, were previously barred from adjusting status to lawful permanent resident.

AND

Nationals of Nicaragua, Cuba or Haiti who were in removal proceedings or ordered removed and who may or may not have previously applied for NACARA or HRIFA.

For specific information regarding eligibility requirements and how to apply, prospective applicants should consult the regulation that is published in the Federal Register and which is also available on the INS Web site www.ins.gov.

Additional information and application forms regarding LIFE Act benefits are available on the INS Web site www.ins.gov (forms can be downloaded from the site), or by calling the INS toll-free customer telephone service: 1-800-375-5283.

Those who have concerns about their eligibility for LIFE Act benefits should be cautious to avoid unscrupulous immigration practitioners. They should contact a licensed attorney or a legal service provider recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals. (A list of legal service providers recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals is available on the Internet site www.usdoj.gov/eoir under "Pro Bono Program.")

– INS –
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