On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced executive actions to change immigration policy. One of these reforms will expand the existing “parole in place” program for the spouses, children, and parents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Parole in place is a status that allows undocumented family members of those who are in the U.S. Armed Forces the right to reside in the United States AND qualify for certain benefits, including employment authorization and, for some people, eligibility to obtain their lawful permanent residency in the United States without having to leave the United States to consular process. If Parole In Place is granted, the Department of Homeland Security paroles people into the United States for humanitarian reasons as if that individual entered the United States with a visa. An individual does NOT have to leave the United States to obtain parole. In most cases, there is no interview with an immigration officer and it is all done by paperwork alone. That is why this type of application is very helpful to many individuals. Many individuals falsely believe that they cannot qualify for parole because he/she entered the United States “Illegally”. You can apply even if you entered the United States “illegally”, or without permission, admission, or inspection.
The spouses, parents, stepparents, children, and stepchildren of those who:
- Are serving as active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Are current members of the Selected Reserve or the Ready Reserve, or
- Previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve or the Ready Reserve
In other words, a family member does NOT have to be currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Once Parole in Place in granted, an individual can apply for Employment Authorization. However, only the spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens – immediate relatives – can qualify to adjust status, apply for their green card, after being granted parole in place. Often times, just being able to live legally in the United States with a work permit is enough even if an individual does not have the opportunity to apply for his/her green card.
Am I guaranteed to be approved if I apply for Parole In Place?
The grant of parole in place is discretionary. An applicant for parole in place does not have to show that she or he is not subject to the grounds of inadmissibility. Therefore, criminal conduct, prior immigration violations, or other adverse factors that are revealed through the application process could affect the decision. It is important to discuss your entire immigration record, and any criminal convictions with your attorney.