(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D - Lawrence) joined with Haitian community leaders on Wednesday, Jan. 11 to commemorate the upcoming 13th anniversary of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and the Haitian diaspora.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010, was blamed for more than 300,000 deaths and lasting economic hardship and disruption that is still being felt to this day.
Cognizant of the ongoing hardship and challenges confronting Haitian nationals because of that natural disaster, the Biden administration last week announced the expansion of a humanitarian parole program that seeks to expand relief opportunities in a manner that promotes legal, orderly and humane migration to the United States.
“Already, our legislative office has received multiple calls from individuals seeking to know how to pursue this opportunity,” Legislator Solages said. “We are committed to educating and empowering the community so that eligible individuals can avail themselves of this important change in immigration law and pursue a better life in America.”
Through the humanitarian parole initiative, which was first offered to Venezuelan migrants, a combined total of as many as 30,000 individuals per month from the nations of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti will have the opportunity to come to America for two years after securing the backing of a United States-based sponsor with legal immigration status and undergoing vetting and background checks. During their time in America, they will have the opportunity to apply for and receive work authorization and pursue permanent residency in the United States. Minors under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Prospective sponsors must apply online at https://www.uscis.gov/i-134a.
“They’re basically asking you - how are you going to take care of this person that you’re sponsoring?” immigration attorney Marie Pereira, founder the not-for-profit Haiti Immigration Project, said. “They want to make sure that this person is going to be safe, be cared for, and not become a public charge when they enter the United States. This is a wonderful program if utilized correctly - you should think long and clear before you launch that type of responsibility.” Individuals with a criminal record and those who have been previously deported and/or found guilty of immigration fraud will be declined; people who come to the border without utilizing humanitarian parole channels run the risk of expulsion from the United States through the expedited removal process and be disqualified from availing themselves of humanitarian parole in the future.
Legislator Solages urged individuals who are seeking to pursue this opportunity to be vigilant and cautious for scammers, and to only utilize the services of licensed, experienced professionals. In addition to Pereira, Legislator Solages was joined by Judith Hospedales, an immigration law attorney who previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security; and Emmanuel Depas, immigration law attorney and founding President of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York.
“As we have seen with every other opportunity to gain immigration status, there have been individuals who have abused the process and unfortunately taken people’s money and not provided the service,” Legislator Solages said. “I am asking you to be very cautious and reach out to any government official to find out if a particular individual has the credentials to do the work that is being offered.”
PHOTO CAPTION - From left - attorney Emmanuel Depas, Legislator Solages, attorney Maria Pereira and attorney Judith Hospedales, pictured at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. PHOTO CREDIT - Office of Legislator Carrié Solages