PHASE-OUT OF THE NICARAGUAN REVIEW PROGRAM
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has discontinued a special
program established in 1987 to review every final order of
deportation involving a Nicaraguan national. The Nicaraguan
Review Program (NRP) was initiated by Attorney General Edwin
Meese in July 1987 to provide an extra level of review by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for Nicaraguans
whose applications for asylum had been denied.
Three years after the transition to a democratically elected
government, Attorney General Janet Reno has determined that the
political situation in Nicaragua and the United States
government's asylum adjudications procedures have improved to
such an extent that it is no longer necessary to continue the
NRP. INS has issued a policy wire notifying its field offices
that Nicaraguans are no longer subject to these special review
procedures, and is providing guidance to its field offices on the
phase out process for the program. Every effort has been made to
phase out the program in a fair, orderly, and humane manner.
WHO IS IMPACTED BY THE END OF THE NRP?
- All Nicaraguans who have received final orders of
deportation, or who are in or are otherwise subject to
deportation hearings will be affected by this change. Under
the NRP, a final order of deportation would have been
subject to an automatic review at INS Headquarters. With the
discontinuation of the NRP, Nicaraguans are now subject to
the same procedures and appeals of asylum adjudication as
individuals from other countries.
- INS estimates that there are 33,914 Nicaraguans who are
currently in deportation or exclusion proceedings, 10,950
have final orders of deportation.
- The cases of all Nicaraguans will be handled individually
under normal immigration procedures. Those Nicaraguan
nationals who were not granted asylum but have resided in
the United States for an extended period of time and whose
deportation would pose an extreme hardship are entitled to
apply for relief under the same criteria as aliens of all
nationalities. Moreover, those who fear persecution upon
their return to Nicaraguan are provided a fair opportunity
to present a claim for asylum.
- Nicaraguans will not be targeted for deportation as a group.
There will be no mass roundups or large scale expulsions of
Nicaraguans from the United States. They will be treated no
differently under the law than are nationals from any other
RELIEF FROM DEPORTATION
- Nicaraguan nationals, including those effected by the
termination of the NRP, may be eligible for suspension of
deportation if they:
- have been present in the United States for at least 7
- are persons of good moral character; and
- are persons of whose deportation would pose an extreme
hardship to themselves or to a spouse, parent, or child
who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent
- To apply for suspension of deportation, and alien with a
final order of deportation must also file a motion to reopen
- To apply for suspension of deportation, individuals
must submit Form I-256A along with a fee of $100 to
his/her nearest INS office.
- To file a motion to reopen their deportation cases,
individuals must submit a request in writing (there is
no form) along with a fee of $110 to their nearest INS
office. Although the motion is filed through the INS
office, the request will be considered and the decision
rendered by an Immigration Judge or the Board of
- These steps must take place concurrently.
- Nicaraguan nationals who cannot return to Nicaraguan because
of a well founded fear of persecution on account of race,
religion, nationality, membership in a particular social
group, or political opinion may apply for asylum under U.S.
- Those Nicaraguans holding final orders of deportation who
are ineligible for suspension of deportation and for whom no
other relief is available under the Immigration and
Nationality Act should depart from the United States.
GRANTING OF WORK AUTHORIZATION
- Nicaraguans nationals with final deportation orders will no
longer have their work authorization extended automatically
as was done under the NRP.
- Nicaraguan nationals affected by the termination of the NRP
who file to reopen their deportation cases based upon a
request for suspension of deportation may also apply for
work authorization from INS. This policy will be in effect
for a period of one year and will end in June of 1996.
- Individuals may apply for work authorization by filing
a "Request for Employment Authorization", Form I-765,
along with a fee of $70 and following the instructions
on the form. Applications for work authorization must
include evidence that the motion to reopen their
deportation case was filed along with a copy of the
application for suspension of deportation.
- In these cases, work authorization may be granted by
INS upon a finding that the alien has met the threshold
requirements to apply for suspension of deportation,
including the physical presence requirement, which is
generally 7 years (as specified above.)
- However, the granting of work authorization does not
guarantee that suspension of deportation will be
granted. Suspension of deportation can only be granted
by an Immigration Judge.
- Those Nicaraguan nationals who filed asylum application
prior to January 4, 1995, and already have work
authorization, will be permitted to extend those
authorizations while their applications are pending
adjudication or review by the INS, an Immigration Judge, the
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or a federal court.
- Nicaraguan nationals who filed their initial application
after January 4, 1995, when general asylum procedures
changed, must wait 150 days before applying for work
authorization. These rules are the same as those that apply
to asylum applicants from other countries.
In an effort to work with the Nicaraguan community in responding
to inquiries regarding the termination of the NRP, the Community
Relations Service (CRS) of the DOJ has extended the use of their
telephone hotline. The hotline is bilingual (Spanish-English)
and has the following numbers: 305/536-4740, 4742, 4745, 4746,
4751, and 4754. The hours of operation for the hotline are 9:00
am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.