Policy & Advocacy

Programs for Cubans and Haitians

Year Published
  • 2011
  • English
The Cuban/Haitian Program is one of the many special programs administered by MRS.  Since 1986 the program has provided reception and resettlement services to newly arriving Cuban and Haitian Entrants (Cubans and Haitians paroled into the US by immigration authorities).  In addition, MRS administers an Unaccompanied Cuban/Haitian Minors Program to ensure the well-being and smooth transition to the new life in the U.S. of this vulnerable population. Both programs are funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

MRS works with resettlement programs within the Catholic resettlement network to serve these clients.  Cuban and Haitian Entrants with relatives in the U.S. are reunited with those relatives and are provided 30 days of orientation and referral services.  For Entrants with no relatives in the US ("free cases") the program provides up to 180 days of resettlement services and financial assistance.

One of the main goals of this program is to facilitate a client's financial self-sufficiency through employment and orientation to their new community.  Resettlement programs provide case management services which include initial orientation, resettlement and employment plans, employment assistance, and assistance in applying for appropriate documents such as a social security card or employment authorization document (EAD). 

The clients served under this program come to the U.S. via various avenues.  They include:

  • Cubans who arrive directly from Cuba through the visa lottery system (Special Cuban Migration program) or the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program;

  • Cuban entrants who arrive by raft (balseros) and are processed through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol;

  • Cuban entrants who cross the U.S./Mexican border (Southwest Border Crossers);

  • Cuban entrants who arrive at the Miami International Airport and are released by immigration authorities;

  • Cuban and Haitian minors released from immigration custody; and

  • Cuban Medical Personnel and their families.

During the last ten years alone, MRS has served over 130,000 clients through this program.

Contact the Cuban/Haitian Program, MRS Miami Office at 305.541.8100.