Nicaraguans Cautioned to Avoid Humanitarian Parole Scams

Applying costs nothing, and Nicaraguans with legal immigration status can be sponsors, even if they’re not relatives of the applicant. US functionaries urge Nicaraguans “not to put your lives in the hands of Coyotes.”

By Cindy Regidor (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The new process allowing Nicaraguans, Cubans, Venezuelans, and Haitians to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States is free for both sponsors and applicants. If someone is charging money to be a sponsor, that constitutes fraud, advised Blas Nuñez-Neto at a press conference held on January 12.  Nuñez-Neto is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy with the US Office of Homeland Security (DHS). Speaking to the media, he added that anyone attempting to charge money should be reported to the US authorities.

The January 12 conversation with the press was aimed at clarifying doubts about the new immigration channels the United States has opened for citizens of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti. The DHS official emphasized that humanitarian parole is an orderly and secure channel that Nicaraguans should take advantage of. “It’s a unique opportunity, offering benefits that aren’t possible for those who try to enter the US by illegally crossing the border. Don’t put your lives in the hands of coyotes, we’ve seen too many tragedies from that route,” Nuñez stated.

Since there are Nicaraguans who need to leave their country but who don’t have a sponsor in the United States, the assistant secretary called on those Nicaraguans who already live in the US and hold legal immigration status to come forward and offer their sponsorship to those who need it.

The spokesperson even mentioned the existence of civic and religious organizations that can help connect possible candidates for parole with sponsors. There are also websites like one called “Welcome us,” in which people can register to become sponsors.

The monthly quotas will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis

One of the questions that interested parties have most frequently voiced regards the distribution of the monthly quotas. The new program offers 30,000 slots for each month in 2023 for Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Cubans, and Haitians to receive humanitarian parole. Those selected will be allowed to live and work in the United States for a two-year period.

The functionary explained that at this time applications are being received and resolved according to the order in which they’re received, without regard for the nationality of the applicant.

Three Cubans have already entered the United States under the new humanitarian parole announced on January 5 for citizens from the four nations who have need to emigrate, Nuñez informed.

The parole process may be expedited

Many Nicaraguans are wondering how long the process for applying for parole might take, and how long the authorities will take to respond to applications. Nuñez-Neto said that it “can be very quick,” depending on the speed with which the sponsors finish their application, and the possible beneficiaries then take the needed steps online to fill in their personal information.

In that sense, he commented: “We’ve seen a very strong demand from the citizens of Cuba and Haiti, and we’re looking for a way that Nicaraguan civil society might support the Nicaraguan beneficiaries.” That comment referred to the key requirement for beginning the process, which is to have a sponsor in the United States that backs the migrant’s request for parole. The sponsor doesn’t necessarily have to be a relative, but they do have to fulfill certain requirements, especially demonstrating financial solvency In case they should have to be responsible for the applicant.

Restrictions and impediments for those who wish to be benefited

Regarding the restrictions for applying, the functionary clarified that there’s no age limit, although he noted that minor children cannot come alone, but must do so with a parent or legal guardian.

There are also no restrictions on the country the person might be living in when they apply, as long as they’re not inside the United States, or have already been granted refugee status by another country.

Regarding possible obstacles related to the government repression in Nicaragua, Blas Nuñez declared that those who face politically tinged and arbitrary accusations from the Nicaraguan government will not be restricted, although the US will not accept anyone who has a criminal record in the United States.

For applicants who don’t have a passport, or whose passport has expired, and who are unable to apply for a new or renewed one because the authorities in their country have denied them this right, Nuñez explained that it’s a situation that has still not been fully discussed; they’re currently taking a close look at that topic, since a passport is required to participate in the process and is also a key requirement for boarding an airplane and flying to the US.

Nicaraguans currently in Mexico can make an appointment on the app

The second immigration mechanism announced by Joe Biden on January 5, is the opportunity for Nicaraguans, Cubans, Venezuelans and Haitians to schedule an appointment to plead their asylum case at the border posts between Mexico and the US.

The appointment must be scheduled through the new cellphone application CBP One, which can be used by the migrants who are currently in Mexico, haven’t crossed the border illegally, and who need to petition the US authorities for asylum.

Said appointment should be scheduled on the CBP One application, which will allow those in need of asylum to sign up for a spot within two weeks period of the date they apply. Nuñez also explained that the App can also be used by Nicaraguans still in their country who don’t have a sponsor for humanitarian parole, but who urgently need to file a request for asylum, because they’re suffering some kind of persecution.

In all these cases, the individual will establish a date and place to appear at the border, where they’ll be interviewed. At the interview, they’ll be asked to demonstrate that they have a strong enough case for asylum, based on solid evidence.

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