USCIS Will Further Strengthen Measures That Support the Reunification of Families Separated by the Castro Regime
For Immediate Release
USCIS announced changes today to its existing policies that will increase opportunities for family reunification and reaffirmed its continued practice of providing protection under its in-country refugee processing program, consistent with U.S. international protection obligations.
Impact of Family Reunification Policy
Immigration processing in Cuba is regulated by the September 4, 1994, Joint Communique between the U.S. government and the government of Cuba. This document allows the United States to process a minimum of 20,000 migrants for travel to the United States each year. Historically, three classes have made up the 20,000 goal: (1) those who receive family-based immigrant visas, (2) those who receive refugee protection, and (3) those who receive discretionary parole under the Special Cuban Migration Program (SCMP), referred to as the Cuban Lottery.
Each year, however, there is a significant backlog of individuals who have applied for family-based immigrant visas that are not available to be issued. Today’s plan aims to reduce this backlog by recognizing these individuals as a fourth class of migrants. In addition to Cuban Lottery winners, we will also exercise our discretion to parole such individuals into the United States.
Under this new policy, family reunification parolees will make up approximately 60 percent of the discretionary paroles granted each year with Lottery winners making up the remaining approximately 40 percent. The table below reflects the impact of this policy:
Background on Three Historic Cuban Migration Classes