United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 General Government Division B-282509 April 21,1999 The Honorable Ted Stevens, Chairman The Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Minority Member Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate The Honorable C.W. Bill Young, Chairman The Honorable David Obey, Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives The Honorable Henry J. Hyde, Chairman The Honorable John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Minority Member Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives Subject: Immigration Benefits: Apnlications for Adiustment of Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998’(HRIFA) authorizes certain Haitian nationals to apply to adjust their status to legal permanent residence. Section 902(k) requires the Comptroller General to report every 6 months on the number of Haitian nationals who have applied and been approved to adjust their status to legal permanent residence. The reports are to contain a breakdown on the numbers who applied as asylum applicants, parolees, children without parents, orphaned children, or abandoned children; or as the eligible dependents of these applicants, including spouses, children, and unmarried sons or daughters. The reports are to be provided until all applications have been finally adjudicated. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) have not yet received or approved any applications for adjustment of status under HRIFA. INS and EOIR expect to jointly publish interim regulations by the end of April ’P.L. 105-277,Division A, Title IX, 1998. Page 1 GAO/MD-99-92R Immigration Benefits B-282509 or early in May. According to INS officials, 30 days after the publication of the interim regulations, Haitian nationals will be able to file applications for adjustment of status. Accordingly, data on the number of applications received and the types of applicants should be available for our next report, due October 241999.‘ Applications filed with INS are to be sent to INS Nebraska Service Center in Lincoln, NE. INS has prepared draft procedures for adjudicating the applications. To facilitate processing, INS plans to provide training for examiners, who are to adjudicate the applications, and for staff of nongovernmental organizations, who plan to assist Haitian nationals in completing and filing the applications. Data from the applications are to be coded according to the type of Haitian applicant. The codes are to be entered in INS Computer Linked Application Information Management System (CLAIMS). According to INS officials, CLAIMS has been modified to accept the codes. Generally, applications properly tiled with EOIR by eligible Haitian nationals in proceedings are to be adjudicated by the immigration court. According to EOIR, Haitian nationals who qualified for deferred enforced departure had their cases administratively closed following the President’s announcement of the policy on December 23,1997. The deferred enforced departure policy delayed for 1 year the removal of qualifying Haitian nationals. It applied to any Haitian national who, prior to December 341995, was paroled into the United States or applied for asylum, and who had been continuously present in the United States since that date. To determine the status of INS and EOIR efforts to implement HRIFA, we spoke to officials of both agencies. We also provided the agencies with a draft of this letter and have incorporated their comments where appropriate. This work was performed by Evi Rezmovic and Jay Jennings. If you have any questions about this letter, please contact me on 51243777. Norman J. Rabkin Director Administration of Justice Issues Page 2 GAO/GGD-99-92RImmigration Benefits Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and Mastercard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Order by maih U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 37050 Washington, DC 20013 or visit: Room 1100 700 4” St. NW (corner of 4” and G Sts. NW) U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, DC Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537. Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony. 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Immigration Benefits: Applications for Adjustment of Status Under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-04-21.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)