During Thanksgiving, people express gratitude for the blessings in life. Among the many things we are thankful for are the service and sacrifice of our military members. Many military members may face the potential for negative events such as deportation of an immediate family member. This could have a significant impact on the military member’s morale and readiness. Recognizing this, the U.S. government has certain benefits available to ease the immigration process for military members’ families. For example, a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces may request deferred action for an immediate family member to delay or prevent their removal from the U.S. Another legal mechanism available to a service member’s immediate family who entered the country without status is called “military parole in place.”
Parole in place is a significant benefit for a spouse, widow(er), parent, or son or daughter of a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces who entered the United States without status or inspection. In essence, parole in place “paroles,” or pardons, the fact that they entered the country unlawfully. Parole in place is granted at the discretion of the government, and if successful, it is valid in one year increments. This will allow some people to process their immigration applications “in place.” They can stay in the U.S. without the need to leave to obtain their green card. This is a benefit to the military member because it reduces the mental, emotional, and financial burden of traveling and being separated. Moreover, it would reduce the continuous anxiety they suffer due to the family member having to return to their home country for visa processing and risk the potential of them never being able to return to the U.S. It also prevents the family member from triggering a three or ten year bar to reentry due to their unlawful presence.
Parole in place is one of the benefits available to ameliorate the difficulties military families face with their immigration status. Parole in place is an effective way to ease the threat of deportation while opening a path to legal residency. According to USCIS, nearly 4,000 applications for parole in place have been approved since fiscal year 2016. The success of programs like this demonstrates a growing need for a more compassionate and understanding immigration policy.
Our office has successfully helped numerous military families through parole in place. Many of those clients may have been in danger of deportation if not for this system. We recently helped a mother whose U.S. citizen son went on to enlist and serve his country in the U.S. Air Force. His mother was granted parole in place, and it was a relief to her son because he no longer needs to fear for his mother’s deportation while serving his country. His mother now has a much more stable path to permanent residency, and she is able to remain in the country and continue supporting her son and family as she gains status.
Parole in place considerations are complex and very case-specific. If you, or any member of your family, have served in the military and have questions about your immigration status, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney. Also, additional information about Military Parole in Place is available on our website.
Sources and further reading:
Overview of Military Parole in Place
Statistics on Military Parole in Place