Parole in place[i] (“PIP”) allows U.S. military relatives legal immigration status and military benefits. Family members already qualifying for a green card based on a close family relationship can adjust their status and apply for a green card or lawful permanent residence without first leaving the U.S. as would normally be the case. This initiative came to being in response to a strong push for President Obama to take action despite Congress stalling on comprehensive immigration reform. Supporters of PIP praise the allowance of benefits to undocumented family members of U.S. military and veterans while critics disapprove of the broad reach of PIP and the lack of Congressional approval.
Spouse, parents and unmarried children of U.S. citizens in the military, if eligible, can apply for PIP.
In order to apply for PIP status change and benefits you must be eligible for a U.S. green card as an immediate relative. Eligible relatives are a U.S. citizen’s parent, spouse or unmarried child under 21 years of age. Blocks to eligibility[ii], despite family relationship, include security, criminal and immigration violations; being likely to require public welfare assistance; communicable diseases, and so forth. Note that there are options where an individual can apply to waive inadmissibility grounds, but the PIP policy gives certain applicants the benefit of the doubt, and an undocumented military spouse who arrived or remains present in the U.S. without designated immigration status[iii] will not be considered inadmissible and can apply for PIP legal status without an inadmissibility waiver.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) parole in place memorandum, by the authority and direction of President Obama, identifies and addresses several concerns for members of the U.S. Armed Services:
- “Military preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. Armed Forces and individuals serving in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, who can be quickly called into active duty, worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents and children.”
- “Similarly, our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans”
When the U.S. citizen served in the military is a broad component of PIP, which extends beyond Active Duty military. In addition, PIP eligibility extends to close family of current Selected Reserve and Ready Reserve members as well as those who previously served.
Take a moment to watch this short news video embedded in a recent news article[iv], telling the story of a wounded U.S. military veteran who relies on the care of his wife, an undocumented immigrant who the PIP policy is designed to offer relief.
PIP approved status applications and adjustments of status are discretionary and may require an attorney.
Like most immigration status applications and adjustments, the process for obtaining a green card or lawful permanent resident status is complex. The PIP offers an allowance but it does not grant a right to immigration status or benefits. You cannot start the process as an adjustment of status to a green card, without first submitting the proper applications to address entry to the U.S. and a request for PIP benefits. A licensed immigration attorney can help interested eligible military family members with the process.
Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including PIP and adjustments of immigration status. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.
[iv] Fox News: Immigration change gives legal status to undocumented relatives of US military. By William La Jeunesse, Dan Gallo, Mar. 11, 2014.