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Glossary 


Asylee - An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien, race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion. For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided. Asylees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States, and as of the date they are granted asylum are eligible for the same benefits of refugees in the United States.

Class A - A test given abroad indicating active findings consistent with specific disease.

Class B - A test given abroad indicating findings consistent with a specific disease; however, the disease was not found to be active.

Cuban-Haitian Entrant - Status accorded to: 1) Cubans who entered illegally or were paroled into the United States between April 15, 1980, and October 10, 1980, and 2) Haitians who entered illegally or were paroled into the country before January 1, 1981. Cubans and Haitians meeting these criteria who have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 1982, and who were known to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before that date, may adjust to permanent residence under a provision of the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986. As allowed by the Fascell-Stone Amendment, the term continues to be used to describe Cubans and Haitians applying to stay in the United States through other than refugee, immigration or tourist/business channels.

Department of Homeland Security - On September 20, 2001, in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush proposed the creation of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS), which came into existence on October 8, 2001. On June 6, 2002, President Bush announced his plans to create the Department of Homeland Security DHS), and in July 2002, his administration released the national strategy for homeland security. Unlike OHS, the DHS is a permanent agency and has budgetary authority over its mission. The primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to secure the homeland and protect it against conventional and unconventional attacks in the United States. DHS also administers our Nation’s immingration system in addition to other functions.

Department of State - The federal agency, through its Bureau of Refugee Programs, that coordinates the reception and placement of refugees with voluntary agencies, states, and localities. The agency also administers the international refugee program efforts of the federal government. Additionally, it administers the issuance of visas through its over 200 consular offices located in foreign countries throughout the world.

Human Rights - Fundamental rights regarded as belonging to all people. Found in many treaties and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the United Nations General Assembly in1948.

Humanitarian Parolee - An alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer, allowed to enter the US under emergency (humanitarian) conditions.

I-94 - The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) control document that records each alien's arrival and departure from the United States. It identifies the period of time for which the alien is admitted and the alien's immigration status.

Immigrant - A person who moves to a country where they intend to settle permanently. In U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) terminology, this is an alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)).

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) - The former federal agency under the United States Department of Justice that administered immigration issue. The functions of this former agency were integrated into the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (see below) as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) - Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as "Permanent Resident Alien," "Resident Alien Permit Holder," and "Green Card Holder."

Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) - The federal agency that is responsible for the national administration of refugee assistance programs (primarily domestic assistance). ORR is in the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

Parolee - A parolee is an alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only, requiring parolees to leave when the conditions supporting their parole cease to exist. Types of parolees include:

  1. Deferred inspection: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; may be conferred by an immigration inspector when aliens appear at a port of entry with documentation, but after preliminary examination, some question remains about their admissibility which can best be answered at their point of destination.
  2. Advance parole: authorized at an U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District office in advance of alien’s arrival; may be issued to aliens residing in the United States in other than lawful permanent resident status who have an unexpected need to travel and return, and whose conditions of stay do not otherwise allow for readmission to the United States if they depart.
  3. Port-of-entry parole: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; applies to a wide variety of situations and is used at the discretion of the supervisory immigration inspector, usually to allow short periods of entry. Examples include allowing aliens who could not be issued the necessary documentation within the required time period, or who were otherwise inadmissible, to attend a funeral and permitting the entry of emergency workers, such as fire fighters, to assist with an emergency.
  4. Humanitarian parole: authorized at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) headquarters or overseas District Offices for "urgent humanitarian reasons" specified in the law. It is used in cases of medical emergency and comparable situations.
  5. Significant Public Benefit Parole: authorized at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS) headquarters Office of International Affairs for "significant public benefit" specified in the law. It is generally used for aliens who enter to take part in legal proceedings when there is a benefit to the government. These requests must be submitted by a law enforcement agency.
  6. Overseas parole: authorized at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District or sub-office while the alien is still overseas; designed to constitute long-term admission to the United States. In recent years, most of the aliens the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has processed through overseas parole have arrived under special legislation or international migration agreements.

Permanent Resident Alien - An immigrant legally authorized to live and work in the United States indefinitely, who may eventually apply for citizenship.

Public Interest Parolees (PIP) - An alien allowed to enter by US Attorney General under INA Section 212(d)(5)(A) and (B). This individual cannot apply for permanent residency or citizenship. Only Cuban and Haitian public interest parolees are eligible for refugee services.

Refugee - Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee.

Refugee in the U.S. - An individual who is granted legal immigration status in the United States based on a claim of persecution or feared persecution in his/her home country because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group. Refugee status is granted to non-citizens outside the country. Refugee status lasts until terminated or until the refugee becomes a lawful permanent resident. Some non-citizens in the United States, because of problems in their countries are colloquially referred to as refugees, even though they may not have legal refugee status in the United States. Refugees entering the United States are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.

Secondary Migration - An un-sponsored relocation of a refugee from the area where they were first resettled after their arrival in the United States.

T-Visa - created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) to protect women, children and men who are the victims of human trafficking. The T visa allows victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons to remain in the United States and assist federal authorities in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases.

U-Visa - The purpose of the U visa is give victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility in the United States for up to 4 years. The U visa is a nonimmigrant visa and only a limited number of U visas are issued every fiscal year.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - Created as a separate bureau by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, USCIS allows the Department of Homeland Security to improve the administration of benefits and immigration services for applicants by exclusively focusing on immigration and citizenship services. USCIS processes all immigrant and non-immigrant benefits provided to visitors of the United States.

Volags - An acronym used in relation to private voluntary agencies, many church-affiliated, which have contracts with the US Department of State to receive refugees and provide for their sponsored resettlements.