The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a policy memorandum addressing the parole of spouses, children and parents of active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces, members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve (including the National Guard) or veterans who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. Generally, a parole is granted, under Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(d)(5)(A), as a discretionary status for someone to enter the United States for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” to an alien applying for admission to the United States. These paroles have only been granted “sparingly” until now. The new USCIS memorandum provides instead for a parole in place (PIP) and that, absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, the government can use its discretion to permit the spouses, children and parents of military members or veterans to now remain in the United States.
The practical effect of this policy change is the ability of these close family members of active or former members of the Armed Forces, who entered the United States without inspection or who have overstayed their visas, to now be able to apply for permanent residence (i.e. green cards) while physically present inside the United States – after the PIP has been granted. As a result of this new policy, they will not be required to travel back to their home country for this process, and no waivers for unlawful presence will be required.
This is an amazing development and wonderful benefit for a well-deserving group of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. The fact that those who have served our country no longer have to deal with the intricate difficulties faced by undocumented family members is a testament to USCIS’ ability to use its discretionary powers to do the right thing. Thank you Director Mayorkas and staff!