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Cuban Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP)

Introduction

The Cuban-Haitian Entrant Program (CHEP) was established to provide eligible Cubans and Haitians with certain benefits and services. CHEP is a federal program administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Background

USCIS coordinates the reception, processing and community placement of Cubans and Haitians paroled into the United States. USCIS currently has agreements with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Church World Service (CWS) to provide assistance. Additional CHEP services are provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for services or benefits under CHEP, an individual must meet the definition of a Cuban/Haitian entrant under Title V of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980. A Cuban and Haitian entrant is defined as:

  • Any individual granted parole status as a Cuban/Haitian entrant or granted any other special status subsequently established under the immigration laws for nationals of Cuba or Haiti, regardless of the status of the individual at the time assistance or services are provided; and
  • Any other national of Cuba or Haiti who is not subject to a final, non-appealable and legally enforceable removal order and who meets the following criteria:
    •  is in removal proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act; or
    • has an application for asylum pending with USCIS.

Cuban and Haitian entrants are eligible to apply for benefits and services from HHS from the date they first enter into Cuban/Haitian Entrant status. For parolees, this is the date they are granted parole or the first parole if more than one parole has been granted. Services under the USCIS’s cooperative agreements with USCCB and CWS may be provided after USCIS assigns a Cuban or Haitian entrant to one of those organizations.

Program Benefits and Services

Under the CHEP program, Cuban and Haitian entrants may be assisted in obtaining decent, safe, and sanitary housing; essential furnishings; food or a food allowance; necessary clothing; and other basic necessities, as appropriate. In addition, individuals are provided:

  • Employment orientation, including the importance of self-sufficiency in American society, the local job market, and job counseling and training programs available in the local community;
  • Referral to community job counseling, placement, and/or training programs;
  • Referral to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes/programs available in the community;
  • Assistance in applying for Social Security cards;
  • Assistance in registering children for school;
  • Assistance with immigration-related issues;
  • Community orientation concerning public services and facilities; personal and public safety; public transportation; standards of personal and public hygiene; their eligibility of publicly supported refugee services; procedures for renewing pertinent DHS documents; available health care services/resources; and availability of free legal services.

Cuban and Haitian entrants with family or sponsors in the United States are given 30 days of orientation and referral services. Entrants with no family or sponsors in the United States are given up to 180 days of services.
For more information on these benefits, please contact:

  • Church World Service, (305) 774-6770 x152; or
  • The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, (305) 541-8100.

Other CHEP Benefits Administered by ORR

In general, individuals are referred to health assessment and screening services available through state, local, or private health programs within the first 30 days of arrival in the United States. Additionally, ORR provides cash assistance, medical assistance, job training/placement, ESL and other social services for eligible Cuban or Haitian entrants through state grant programs.

For more information on these benefits, as well as information regarding Cuban Haitian unaccompanied minors, please visit the ACF/ORR website or the ACF/ORR Repatriation Services page on the ACF website.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/16/2011