Sunday, November 30, 2014

Part of the Obama Plan: Parole for Families of U.S. Armed Forces Members and Enlistees

Another aspect of the president's recent immigration action is to consider expanding parole for the families of U.S. Armed Forces members and enlistees.

"Parole in place" or PIP (as explained in this post by Margaret Stock) currently covers:

the immigrant parents, spouses, and children of current military members on active duty or who serve in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or veterans of such service. [Under PIP, the] USCIS should generally allow such immigrant relatives to be granted an immigration “parole” so that they may adjust to a lawful immigration status while in the United States. Previously, some USCIS offices had required these military family members to leave the United States in order to obtain a lawful immigration status, but the family members’ departure from the United States often triggered a lengthy separation—sometimes more than ten years—because of overseas visa processing rules.

The November 20 memo authored by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directs the USCIS to work with the Department of Defense to issue new policies for PIP that would potentially cover the relatives of USCs or LPRs who "seek to enlist" in the military, though this phrase is unexplained.

The expansion would not cover others types of migrants who might be eligible to enlist such as individuals from America Samoa or Swains Island (who are not U.S. citizens but U.S. nationals), participants in the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, or DACA recipients. 

The memo also directs the USCIS

to consider the availability of deferred action, on a case-by-case basis, to those now undocumented family members of U.S. military service members and veterans who would be otherwise eligible for parole-in-place, but who were inspected and lawfully admitted to the United States.


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