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Priority Three Immigration

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:40 PM
Friday, January 7, 2011

Humanitarian efforts can be very delicate issues, and the U.S. State Department’s suspension of the East African family-reunification (or Priority Three) is a prime example. The program, was instituted to reunify families from civil war-torn areas with relatives living in the U.S..  The program was suspended in March of 2008 and has not been reopened at this time.

According to the State Department in February of 2009:

There are currently three priorities or categories of cases that have access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Priority One and Two applicants are granted access to the program through an individual referral by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a U.S. Embassy or qualified NGO, or by membership in a group of cases designated as having access to the program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement. Priority Three, or P-3, refers to individual cases from eligible nationalities who are granted access for purposes of family reunification with certain legal residents in the United States.

The State Department decided to preform DNA test on the P-3 starting with the embassy in Kenya to test for fraud.  What they discovered is that the rate of fraud varied from country to country but they were able to confirm biological relationships between fewer than 20% of the cases tested (family units outside the U.S.).

The suspension of this program effects families in a variety of locations including:  Afghanistan,  Bhutan,  Burma,  Burundi,  Central African Republic (CAR), Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),  Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.

As of October 22, 2008, the Department of State stopped accepting Affidavits of Relationship (AORs) for all nationalities. Although in some location where there was no evidence of fraud (Bangkok, Cairo, Havana, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Kathmandu, Moscow, and Vienna) there are a small number of AORs that were submitted and cleared prior to March 2008 are being processed. No new applications will be accepted for any nationality at this time.

This does not mean that the State Department has not been working to assist the refugee populations seeking admittance to the U.S.  According to the State Department:

We continue to work closely with UNHCR to determine which African refugee populations are appropriate candidates for group and individual referrals. For example, we recently authorized the processing of several thousand Eritrean refugees in a camp in Ethiopia and continue to receive P-1 (individual) referrals of Congolese, Burundians, Somalis, and other African nationalities.

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