Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act


Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, or NACARA, is a U.S. law passed in 1997 that provides various forms of immigration benefits and relief from deportation to certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries and their dependents who had arrived as asylees. As these Central Americans overwhelmed the U.S. asylum program in the mid-1990s, their cases were left for NACARA to address.

Section 202 deals with Nicaraguans (~95% of Section 202 beneficiaries) and Cubans (~5%), whereas Section 203 deals with Salvadorans (~65% of Sec. 203 beneficiaries), Guatemalans (~30%), and former Soviet Union nationals (~5%). Persons granted NACARA benefits are counted as legal permanent resident immigrants.

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act stated that Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries and their dependents are able to become legal permanent residents of the United States provided that they were registered asylums seekers who stayed in the United States for at least 5 years since December 1, 1995. Some condition regulate this clause. The asylum seeker shall not possess a lack of labor certification. He must obtain a right of residence. Another reason leading to rejection would be the lack of a valid visa. Furthermore, the violation of a law leads to rejection of the request to become a legal resident. Due to offenses against the conditions the asylum seeker has to be deported.


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Year NACARA 202 NACARA 203
1998 1 0
1999 11,267 573
2000 23,641 8,015
2001 18,926 19,349
2002 9,496 21,603
2003 2,577 27,100
2004 2,292 30,136
2005 1,155 15,597
Total 69,354 122,373



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