With all the inconsistencies within the government relating to an ever-changing immigration landscape, it is important to remind people of very valuable processes available to certain applicants that are often overlooked. With the aging immigrant population in the US, many parents have children who are now adults and were born in the U.S. As U.S. citizens, these children have opportunities that undocumented children do not have that can be used to help their parents. One such program is called “parole-in-place” and is available to U.S. citizens who have or are currently serving in the military.
Parole-in-place is a program that allows a foreign national who came into the United States without authorization to stay and work in the US for a certain period of time. The approval is granted on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or reasons that provide a significant public benefit. “Parole” is a lawful immigration status used for a specific purpose such as granting certain immigration benefits, such as a Green Card. A person can use parole-in-place to help them fix certain problems with their status without the need to leave the U.S.
One benefit to being paroled is to protect an undocumented migrant from accumulating unlawful presence in the U.S. for the period of time that they hold this status. This could be helpful for those who may be eligible for a future process that would allow the migrant to become an immigrant. Often, when a migrant has time that is considered unlawful, this time will prevent them from obtaining an approval. The granting of a parole acts as a protection for the time the migrant has the status. Additionally, those who have been paroled are allowed to apply for a work permit and can also apply for an immigration benefit that requires a legal entry into the US such as a Green Card or a work visa. Parole by itself does not lead to any immigration status or other immigration benefit, but is extremely valuable for future benefits.
A migrant becomes eligible for parole-in-place if they can prove that they are the spouse, widow,
parent, son or daughter of an active-duty member or veteran of the U.S. armed forces. The process involves filing an application with a local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office and providing copies of specific documents that show eligibility for the protection, proof of the family relationship and proof that your relative is or was an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces. Once the approval is received, the migrant is given a temporary approval that can be used to apply for a work permit, social security number and a driver’s license. Since the process can take up to a year to get approved before work authorization is possible, it is recommended that eligible families apply for this protection as soon as possible while they remain eligible.
Another similar process that can be used by family members of veteran or active-duty U.S. military members is deferred action. Like parole-in-place, deferred action is a discretionary program where immigration elects to grant temporary protection from deportation for up to two years. If USCIS grants the deferred action, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers the migrant lawfully present in the U.S. for the period the deferred action is in effect. Although deferred action does not give lawful status and does not excuse any past or future periods of unlawful presence, it does offer the significant benefit of temporary protection and the ability to work, to get a social security number and for a driver’s license.
To qualify for this process, a migrant must file an application with fee to the government with specific documents that prove the family relationship with the military member, documents from the military proving the military status and a specific justification that the migrant needs and deserves the protection. Since these processes are discretionary, it is very important to file correctly with the proper information. Like parole-in-place, the review and approval process can take up to one year before the applicant is protected and is permitted to work.
Again, this protection does not solve all problems a person can have with their immigration status, but it is an extremely valuable program that puts undocumented individuals in a position to benefit from future programs and opportunities. If you have any questions about either of the above processes or other similar protections, please schedule a consultation today by calling 616-805-3435.