Parole In Place: 2022 Military Immigration Law Gives Green Card to Parents, Spouses, Kids

Are you enlisted? Or are you an officer in the US military, or a veteran of the US military with family in the US but here unlawfully?

As of November of 2013, the United States Department of Homeland Security expanded a previously existing military immigration law called parole in place that directly benefits the family members of military personnel.

Parole in place promotes family unity for those who serve our country, by offering green cards to immigrant parents, spouses and children of Active Duty Military, as well as immigrant relatives of Reserves, Veterans and the National Guard.

What is Parole in Place?

Parole in place (or PIP) is a military immigration law that gives legal status to undocumented immigrants in the United States, even if they have entered without inspection (unlawfully).

“Parole in place” is a pre-existing policy that allows undocumented immigrants in the United States  to live here permanently.

The PIP policy Memorandum states: “absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors,” that immigrant spouses, children and parents of active duty military plus reservists and veterans could be given parole in place status based on prior policy.

Parole will be given in one-year terms.

The Policy Memorandum further instructs that some immigrant relatives of military given parole are able to apply for green cards in the United States.

Before the November 2013 parole in place, family members with no legal immigration status were forced to leave the United States to apply for green cards. This process was stressful and uncertain, leading to long family separation.  Parole in place allows family members who are in the United States unlawfully to apply for a US green card, without having to leave the country.

Once parole in place is issued, then applications for green cards are normally granted as a matter of fairness. This makes the entire process far less challenging for the families of our military personnel — past and present!

Does Parole In Place still exist?

Yes. Parole in place is currently available to those eligible to apply, as defined in the USCIS Immigration Options for Family Of Certain Military and Veterans.  Applications are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Why Do Military and Veterans Get Special Immigration Privileges?

In conjunction with the Department of Defense, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) launched a number of initiatives to assist military members, veterans, and their families because of concern that the immigration status of their families can cause undo stress and anxiety. Not only is there an understanding that this stress can affect those in active duty, but it also can negatively impact veterans. As the 2013 memo states: “we as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans.”

What are the benefits of Parole In Place?

PIP protects those in the military and their families from being deported.

Foreigners without legal immigration status often must depart the United States to apply for green cards through marriage to an American citizen.  However, once those immigrants leave the United States, they are subject to a ten year bar, before returning with green cards.

  • Under the Policy Memorandum, certain immigrant relatives of military will be able to stay in America.
  • Minimally, thousands of immigrant relatives of military will be eligible for work permits, renewable annually.
  • Moreover, some immigrants given parole in place will be eligible to apply for green cards (adjustment of status) in the United States.
  • The Policy Memorandum has its roots in a partnership between the Department of Defense and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • The reasons for this policy are humanitarian in nature.

Are There Risks to Applying for Parole In Place?

Parole in place is discretionary, and by applying for parole in place you are alerting the US government of your undocumented status.

It is essential to get the help of a good immigration attorney if you wish to apply for this process. Identifying grounds of inadmissibility is the most important step in this procedure. As long as you are totally upfront with your attorney, they will know immediately if you should apply or not.

Who Can Apply For Parole In Place?

The family members of:

  • Active Duty Military Members
  • Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
  • U.S. Military Veterans and
  • Former Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve Members.

What Do I Need To Apply For Parole In Place?

  • A Completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document .
  • Copies of documents that show you are eligible for parole in place (do not submit originals).
  • Evidence of the family relationships, and proof that your relatives are or were active-duty members of the armed forces, Selected Reserves, or Ready Reserves

If you have any questions about parole in place, or any other immigration concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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