On November 15, 2013 the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy granting parole in place to military families within the U.S. The memorandum declared that parole in place may be granted to individuals who are the spouse, child or parent of an Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or an individual who previously served in the armed forces. The term parole in place refers to the government granting an individual admission into the United States while they are already in the country. Specifically, those foreign nationals who have entered the country without inspection or those who entered inspected by an immigration officer but are now out of status may affirmatively apply for parole in place. By applying for parole in place an individual may on a case by case basis be granted their request and be legally admitted or re-admitted into the U.S.

Requirements for Relief

The regulations outlined by the DHS state that parole in place would be granted in one year increments with the opportunity to re-apply as it expires. Parole in place will not be granted automatically solely on the basis of the individuals qualifying relationship to a military spouse, child or parent. It is a discretionary application assessed on a case by case basis. The process of applying for parole in place will require substantial evidence about the relationship to that qualifying relative as well as the applicant’s equities.

This announcement is particularly significant in that it will allow those individuals who entered without inspection or are who are out of status to be legally admitted into the United States. The benefit of a grant of parole in place is that those individuals with an immediate relative petition will be able to apply for adjustment of status and avoid returning to their country to obtain an immigrant visa. In other words, immigrants who are the spouse, child or parent of a U.S citizen over 21 years of age and who entered the U.S without inspection may be eligible to legalize their status. Those individuals who do not have immediate relatives may still apply for parole in place and adjust their status if they have not acquired any period of unlawful presence while in the U.S.

Benefits of Parole in Place

Notwithstanding eligibility for adjustment of status, all parole in place recipients are free from the risk of removal from the country due to their unlawful status. Additionally, a parole in place status includes a temporary work permit which is granted for one year and is subject to renewal. Those eligible parole in place applicants who are currently in removal proceedings before an immigration judge may also apply for parole in place as an affirmative form of relief and have their cases potentially terminated. Moreover, those individual who have entered the country with a crewman’s visa (C-1) can significantly benefit from parole in place by overcoming the crewman’s bar and adjusting their status within the U.S.

The Obama administration believes that there is an urgent need to help military dependants to secure immigration status in the U.S. This policy was instituted because the ability of those in the armed forces to adequately perform their duties may be affected when they have family members with unlawful status who are at risk of deportation. Additionally, the Obama administration has taken immediate action to protect military families due to the Senate’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform this legislative year. The government understands the need to protect the families of those who have sacrificed their lives to protect this nation.

Parole in place is not a new policy, however in this particular memorandum the Department of Homeland Security focuses in on military families. Parole in place has been historically applied to non-military families who need to be paroled for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefits. Therefore, parole in place reaches a broader class of people in addition to military families. There is no reason why active members of the U.S armed forces who are deployed should continue to worry about the safety of their families they leave behind. If you believe you qualify for parole in place after entering the U.S illegally or remaining without the permission of the U.S government consult an immigration attorney at LA Legal Advocates.

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