USCIS Introduces Family Reunification Parole Process for Ecuador

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unveiled a Federal Register notice detailing the implementation of a new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) process for Ecuador. This initiative aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration's successful strategy of expanding legal pathways and enhancing enforcement to address irregular migration. The FRP procedures are part of a broader set of measures, announced in April, aimed at fostering safe and orderly migratory routes, consistent with the goals outlined in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.

The invitation-only FRP process is designed for specific Ecuadorian nationals, enabling eligible beneficiaries to be considered for parole into the United States on a case-by-case basis while awaiting the availability of their family-based immigrant visa. This approach aims to expedite family reunification and provide a safer alternative to precarious irregular migration.

Eligible beneficiaries, certain nationals of Ecuador with an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must meet criteria such as being outside the United States, fulfilling screening, vetting, and medical requirements, and not having obtained an immigrant visa previously.

The process commences with the Department of State extending an invitation to initiate the FRP process to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioners with an approved Form I-130 for an Ecuadorian principal beneficiary. This could include certain children and siblings of U.S. citizens and specific spouses and children of permanent residents. The invited petitioner can then file a supporter request for eligible family members, who may subsequently be considered for advance travel authorization and parole.

Starting November 17, 2023, USCIS will implement Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, for this FRP process.

As with all parole requests, authorization under this FRP process for certain nationals of Ecuador will be granted on a case-by-case and temporary basis, contingent upon determining urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. Noncitizens paroled into the United States under this process may generally receive parole for up to three years and can apply for employment authorization while awaiting their immigrant visa. Upon visa availability, they may apply for lawful permanent resident status.

Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act empowers Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas to exercise discretionary authority in paroling applicants for admission into the United States temporarily on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. Similar parole authorities have been employed by previous secretaries, leading to the establishment of family reunification parole processes, such as the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program in 2007 and the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program in 2014. The introduction of new FRP processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras was announced in July, followed by the modernization of FRP processes for Cuba and Haiti in Augus

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