Immigration parole program: Cuban mother dreams of family reunion in Miami-Dade

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services attributes program’s delays to high demand

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. – Odamyis Gomez, a married mother of two in Cuba, said she dreams of a family reunion in Miami-Dade County, and she had put her hope on President Joe Biden’s parole program. But in January, a group of 20 states challenged the case-by-case basis program to help Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans.

Gomez said her siblings and parents risked their lives to make it to Florida, one of the states challenging the parole program. Gomez’s brother arrived in a raft eight years ago and her other sibling, mother, and father later crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. These are the very risks Biden’s program is trying to prevent.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security launched the parole process for Venezuelans in October 2022 and expanded it to Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans in January. Gomez said she applied and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approved her case in March.

Gomez, a parolee, has to appear in U.S. immigration court on Aug. 24, but on Wednesday she said her desperation was growing since her two children and husband had yet to get a response.

“I have been waiting and waiting and waiting ... I just cannot leave them,” Gomez said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the delays related to the parole program are related to the high demand and not the challenges in court.

In July, a judge invalidated the Biden administration’s asylum ineligibility rule, which requires asylum seekers to schedule an appointment for a hearing at a legal port of entry or to prove that they have already sought asylum in another country and were denied.

The U.S. Justice Department’s appeal may end up in the Supreme Court.

Attorney Wilfredo O. Allen has been following the challenges to Biden’s use of executive power to deal with U.S. immigration policies and the appeals. He said he doesn’t expect a judge to issue any type of injunction to pause the parole program — at least until a top court resolves the case.

About the Author:

Cody Weddle joined Local 10 News as a full-time reporter in South Florida in August of 2022. Before that, Cody worked regularly with Local 10 since January of 2017 as a foreign correspondent in Venezuela and Colombia.