U.S. service members are respected members of our community because of their precious contribution to serve in our country's armed forces. Their dedication and sacrifice to protect the people of this country is deserving of our utmost gratitude. Unfortunately, some of these patriots come back home feeling helpless not knowing what will happen to family members who do not have lawful status in the United States. Fortunately, there is a discretionary program available to U.S. service members who have relatives currently living in the U.S. that were not admitted or inspected upon entering the U.S. This mechanism is referred as “Parole in Place”.
A U.S. service member is eligible to apply if the following criteria is met: (1) the family member is an immediate relative (a spouse, child, or parent); (2) the U.S. service member must be a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident; and (3) the U.S. service member must be active duty, a Selected Reserve member, a veteran, or enlisting into the military. The purpose of the program is designed to ensure the safety of the service member and their readiness for duty by preserving family unity.
Pursuant to INA 245, an individual who was not admitted or paroled is ineligible to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status. A person is considered “admitted” after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer. If your family member entered the U.S. without inspection, the only way for them to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status is through a process called ‘consular processing'. This means they would have to leave the U.S. and return to their home country, which places them at risk of not being admitted back into the U.S., while risking other inadmissibility issues. We recommend all members of the family speak with an experienced immigration attorney before leaving the U.S.
Like any other immigration case involving individuals residing in the U.S. unlawfully, there is an associated risk when applying for “Parole in Place”. For example, filing “Parole in Place” may trigger an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if the applicant resides in the U.S. unlawfully, even if chances of removal are low. If the request for “Parole in Place” is approved, the “inspected, admitted or paroled” requirement under INA 245 is satisfied. However, this approval does not override other inadmissibility or immigration issues the applicant may need to overcome in order obtain Legal Permanent Resident status. If the request for “Parole in Place” is denied, it is possible that DHS will initiate removal proceedings against the applicant.
To file for Parole in Place, the following documents need to be submitted:
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
- Letter from Military Service Member explaining, in detail, why USCIS should approve the request for Parole in Place
- Proof of Identity for Applicant (Immediate Relative);
- Evidence of relationship between Applicant & Military member;
- Proof of enlistment as a military service member;
- Documentation issued to Applicant by USCIS or other immigration agencies;
- Two (2) passport photos of Applicant;
- Deployment orders, if applicable;
- Other evidence that is favorable for the Applicant that will persuade USCIS to grant the request; and,
- Letter written by the military service member.
As with filing any application with USCIS, the applicant and U.S. service member should meet with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss if filing “Parole in Place” is right for you. While hiring a document preparer may be an appealing option, they are unable to provide the legal guidance and representation you and your family deserve. Our office wants to serve those that served our country. Please call the Law Office of Michael D. Post today to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.