Parole in Place is an immigration salve for many members of the military and their family members. It permits them an opportunity to rest easier at night knowing that while the member of the military is serving the U.S., their family is protected from a life-changing experience like deportation.
When you hear about Parole In Place (PIP), you might ask: ‘What in the world is that?’. PIP is a special permission U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives to certain spouses, widow(er), parents, or son/daughter of a member of the U.S. military. PIP permits the military member’s relative to remain in the U.S with permission from immigration and often can dramatically change the course of a person’s immigration journey.
This is because changes to immigration law in 1996 made it so that if a person enters the U.S. without documentation, they MUST return to their country of birth to apply for a green card. This process often triggers penalties that can impose other hurdles to getting a green card, making it a multi-year process that could put the person’s return to the U.S. at risk in certain circumstances.
PIP, however, if granted, permits the family member who is otherwise ineligible to apply for a green card at their local USCIS office (known as adjustment of status) to apply close to home. This saves the family the nerve-racking, years long and intimidating trek to the embassy/consulate in the family member’s country of birth.
Certainly, PIP serves to recognize the selfless love and work a military member exhibits when joining the armed forces of the United States by permitting his or her family to enjoy increased stability and security. It is a way to provide continued support to the members of the military by lightening their load of thinking ‘what will happen to my family if something happens to me?’
Although clearly an important legal tool to assist in immigration cases, many are still unfamiliar with it or know that it was made into a law in December, 2019. Right before new year 2020, PIP was given a permanent statutory home by way of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 section 1758. This is significant because prior to being made law, Parole in Place only existed in a policy memorandum issued in 2013 – this made it particularly vulnerable to being cancelled at any time. Thankfully, however, lawmakers understood the magnitude of making this policy into a permanent solution for our deserved brothers and sisters in the armed forces.
Those who are an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces, are in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or are a veteran are eligible to apply for PIP on behalf of a family member. It is important to remember that PIP, while offering an opportunity to adjust status in the U.S., does not make an immigration case fail-proof. An attorney should review the military family member’s case for any other grounds of inadmissibility that could cause a green card application to be denied.
For more information, see the following USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/military/discretionary-options-for-military-members-enlistees-and-their-families
*Disclaimer: this blog is not intended to aid anyone seeking to come and live in the US undocumented, is not legal advice, and is for informational purposes only.