Since President Trump took office, the government has aggressively dismantled many humanitarian and discretionary based programs including DACA and TPS for several countries. And with the way things are headed, there are no signs of abatement. However, there are a few discretionary options that, for the time being, are still intact--one of the most popular but least understood being Military Parole in Place.
Parole in Place is a discretionary decision made by USCIS to allow certain individuals who may have entered the United States without inspection to remain here temporarily. This is accomplished through the government's exercise of section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes parole on a case-by-case basis for those who have demonstrated urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit. Military Parole in Place (or PIP) is a formalized protocol for entertaining parole requests for family members of the US Armed Forces and veterans.
In order to be eligible, the individual must be a spouse, widow(er), parent, son or daughter of an active duty member of the US armed forces; an individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve; or a former member of the US armed forces (who was not dishonorably discharged). In addition to proof of relationship and proof of the family member's military status, the individual must submit evidence demonstrating that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. Furthermore, the applicant must be physically present in the US and generally speaking, not be convicted of a criminal offense or otherwise pose a threat to public safety. Interestingly, if an applicant has entered the US lawfully (ie., using a visitor's visa) but then overstayed, he/she will not be considered for PIP, since the person has technically already been admitted to the US.
If approved, the individual will be granted temporary authorization to stay in the United States. Parole is granted in increments of one year and insulates the individual from removal/deportation (provided the person follows the law and does not commit conduct that would render him/her deportable). A PIP parolee will also become eligible to apply for work authorization which can lead to an issuance of a social security number and also enable one to apply for a driver license in many states.
Another important aspect of PIP is that the person will be given an I-94 as evidence of their parole status. For individuals who would otherwise not qualify for adjustment of status due to a lack of inspection, PIP may serve as a much-needed mechanism to address the admission eligibility requirement. To illustrate: under section 245(a), only those individuals who have been "inspected, admitted, or paroled" are eligible to seek adjustment of status inside the US. As a result, those who may have evaded inspection and snuck into the country (colloquially referred to as "ewi's") are not statutorily eligible to apply inside the US. However, if a person is subsequently granted PIP, he or she may then use the I-94 proof of parole to satisfy this prong. Of course, the individual still needs to meet all the other requirements of 245(a) in addition to showing that no grounds of inadmissibility apply. But the point is that military PIP may be an incredible utility to accomplish what would otherwise not be possible under our current immigration system.
For more information on military PIP, how to qualify, and its benefits, please contact our office. The above is general information only and not to be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship, nor should it be relied upon as advice in lieu of consultation with an attorney.