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 that is inside the US but is here unlawfully?

There is a relatively new expansion of immigration law that’s just for you.

In 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 Are The Benefits of 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). Before the November 2013 parole in place changes, parents, spouses, and children with no legal immigration status were forced to leave the United States to apply for green cards. This can be a stressful, and uncertain process, and can lead 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 stressful, and less uncertain for the families of our military personnel past and present!

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.”

Are There Risks to Applying for Parole In Place?

Parole in place is discretionary, so deportation is a risk; by applying for parole in place you are alerting the US government of your undocumented status. There is always the chance of deportation proceedings if your parole in place application is not granted. 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.

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


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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