The Nicaraguan government released 222 former political prisoners this Thursday, including opponents, presidential candidates, social activists, lawyers, journalists, priests and diplomats. All of them were transferred to Washington, in what is already considered one of the largest operations of this type in which the White House has participated.
The refugees are now in the United States after the Biden administration granted them a “parole” to remain in the country legally, as announced by the Executive through a statement.
“The United States facilitated the transportation of these persons once they are released from Nicaraguan custody to the United States, and they will enjoy a “parole” in the country for humanitarian reasons for a period of two years,” the document stated, confirming that the US authorities provided “medical and legal assistance” to all those who chose to travel voluntarily to the US capital.
What is this temporary permit for Nicaraguan refugees about?
This “parole” applies only to the 222 former political prisoners in an extraordinary way since, according to the immigration lawyer consulted by the voice of americaHéctor Benítez, is “the Department of Homeland Security who has the discretionary power to grant a document or figure of legal access to the United States.”
“That “parole” From a legal point of view, it is not properly considered an admission for the purposes of other types of immigration procedures, but it is definitely a legal entry,” commented the legal advisor, who works between Miami and Washington.
What is the difference with the other permits that are currently granted?
It should be noted, however, that this type of temporary permit to live and work temporarily in the United States differs from other measures recently adopted for other nationals of Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, and Ukraine.
“For example, there paroles of family unifications for the cases of Cubans and Haitians. Also the one that was created for Ukraine, which was later extended to Venezuela or even Nicaragua”, comments Benítez.
In these cases, it is necessary for the sponsor, who can be a natural person or a corporate entity, to go through a strict process to certify that it has sufficient “economic and financial resources to be able to bring the beneficiary of the parole”, clarifies the expert.
Therefore, on these temporary protections, the United States Government imposes a condition sine qua non in which the sponsor has to demonstrate its ability to financially support the people who potentially enter with those permits.
Who sponsors the former Nicaraguan political prisoners?
In the case of the 222 Nicaraguan refugees, it is not required that there be a sponsor in the United States, since it is the Government itself that takes care of these people.
“Basically they are counting on the authorization and legal access by the United States Government” since it has been taken into account that many of them “arrive after obviously suffering elements of political persecution, imprisonment, probably torture, etc. ”, according to Benítez.
So, with that preamble, “the government is providing them with access to a land where they can propose other types of immigration protections.”
US legislation contemplates this type of measures adopted by the White House. “Through their discretion granted directly by the immigration law, they are being allowed to come to the United States directly without going through the journeys of obtaining a visa at a consulate,” something that in the other cases of parole Yes, prior approval is required with the obligation to go to a consular office.
He “parole” Allows Legal Stay in the US for 2 Years: What Happens After?
As previously mentioned, the White House reported that Nicaraguan refugees who have just arrived in the United States could be legally in the North American country for a period of two years where they will be able to work without restrictions.
“They are going to have the possibility of applying for work permits and they are going to have access to social security so that they can insert themselves or try to regularize themselves in the American scheme itself,” he adds.
And after that period? This does not mean that these people have to leave the American union once that time has elapsed, but rather that once established in the country they can opt for other legal ways to obtain permanent residence.
The most recurring measure will be political asylum since, according to Benítez, they have sufficient reasons to demonstrate that they are persecuted in their countries.
“Obviously, since it is a measure taken directly by the US government and taking into account that they come for having been imprisoned for political reasons, the logical thing is that all of them have access to the figure of asylum so that they can permanently regularize their situation. in the country”, explains Héctor Benítez to the VOA.
What other ways do they have to establish themselves in the US?
Political asylum is not the only legal solution that the 222 Nicaraguan refugees could have. “There may be exceptions, where some of these former political prisoners may be able to do so through a family petition, perhaps from a son who is already a US citizen or other types of circumstances that make it possible,” the lawyer explains.
Despite this, “those who do not have these conditions obviously have a fairly solid foundation to make a request for asylum.”
How will stateless persons be recognized internationally?
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines a stateless person as “a person who is not considered a national by any State under its law”. In other words, these types of people do not have the recognized nationality of a country, and this has some consequences since, in many cases, they have difficulties enrolling in a school, opening a bank account or getting married.
Lawyer Angel Leal, another immigration expert consulted by the VOAadvanced that Nicaraguan refugees will not be considered stateless within the United States and recalls that statelessness “is one of the elements that allows the person to claim asylum from the point of view of human rights, identity, nationality or Homeland”.
“Eventually it will not be a problem to have an asylum and people opt for that route, because they will undoubtedly be able to obtain refugee documentation and passports in the future, with which they will be able to obtain refugee documentation and passports in the future and they will have the option of having their identity again”, says the lawyer.
What is the refugee passport?
So once people apply for asylum and achieve asylum status in the United States, they can apply for different travel documents with refugee status, “and that somehow comes to replace, both within the United States and for third countries, the absence or lack of documentation”.
“It has characteristics very similar to those of a passport, although it is a document issued by the US authorities and would allow them to travel throughout the rest of the world, except for Nicaragua,” concludes Benítez.
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Source: VOA Español