Parole in Place

What is Military Parole in Place and why is it ending if it benefits U.S. soldiers and veterans?

Parole in place (PIP) is available to certain undocumented family members of U.S. military personnel (active or veterans). Beneficiaries who are granted PIP are provided authorization to stay and work in the United States. More importantly, PIP beneficiaries are “paroled” for the purposes of applying for a green card inside the U.S. under §245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Parole in place is a significant benefit that’s generally not available to family members of civilians. The policy maintains family unity and gives service members peace of mind.

Parole in Place Benefits

The parole in place policy aims to prevent the separation of military families by allowing certain family members to remain in the United States. In addition to being in an authorized stay, the previously undocumented family member(s) may also be eligible for employment authorization. Generally, immediate family members can adjust status to permanent resident (green card holder).

Under Review

Earlier in the summer, a memo was circulated within the Pentagon indicating that USCIS was looking to get rid of the “Parole in Place” program, according to Margaret Stock, a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and immigration attorney who represents military families.

Since they were made aware of existence of the memo, Stock said lawyers like her have been scrambling to file petitions for the program.

“Right now, immigration lawyers are frantically applying for as many people as they can, because the thinking is if you apply before they get rid of the policy, at least maybe you will be grandfathered, your application will be considered anyway because you already filed it,” she said.

A USCIS official confirmed the agency has not yet made a decision about terminating the program but said it “remains under review.”

According to the official, USCIS, which is in charge of administering benefits for immigrants, refugees and would-be citizens, is “reviewing” all parole programs to ensure they are consistent with existing law and one of President Trump’s first executive orders in January 2017 which called for the end of “the abuse of parole.”

Earlier this month, the agency, now led by immigration hawk Ken Cuccinelli, announced it would terminate two parole programs, one for family members of aging Filipino veterans of World War II and the other for certain people in Haiti with family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.