The USCIS has release a policy memorandum concerning the parole of spouses, children and parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
INA § 212(d)(5)(A) gives the Secretary the discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to “parole” for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit” an alien applying for admission to the United States. Although it is most frequently used to permit an alien who is outside the United States to come into U.S. territory, parole may also be granted to aliens who are already physically present in the U.S. without inspection or admission. This latter use of parole is sometimes called “parole in place.”
The basic authority for parole in place is INA § 212(d)(5)(A), which expressly grants discretion to parole “any alien applying for admission to the United States.” INA § 235(a)(1), in turn, expressly defines an applicant for admission to include “an alien present in the United States who has not been admitted.”
According the new policy memorandum issued by the USCIS:
“As noted above, the decision whether to grant parole under INA § 212(d)(5)(A) is discretionary. Generally, parole in place is to be granted only sparingly. The fact that the individual is a spouse, child or parent of an Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, an individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or an individual who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, however, ordinarily weighs heavily in favor of parole in place. Absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, parole in place would generally be an appropriate exercise of discretion for such an individual. If USCIS decides to grant parole in that situation, the parole should be authorized in one-year increments, with re-parole as appropriate.”
Thus, for an alien who entered without inspection, a grant of parole under INA § 212(d)(5)(A) affects at least two of the eligibility requirements for adjustment of status. First, adjustment of status requires that the person be “admissible.” INA § 245(a)(2). Parole eliminates one ground of inadmissibility, section 212(a)(6)(A)(i). Second, adjustment of status requires that the alien have been “inspected and admitted or paroled.” INA § 245(a). The grant of parole under INA § 212(d)(5)(A) overcomes that obstacle as well.
The alien must still, however, satisfy all the other requirements for adjustment of status. One of those requirements is that, except for immediate relatives of United States citizens and certain other individuals, the person has to have “maintain[ed] continuously a lawful status since entry into the United States.” INA § 245(c)(2). Parole does not erase any periods of prior unlawful status.
Consequently, an alien who entered without inspection will remain ineligible for adjustment, even after a grant of parole, unless he or she is an immediate relative or falls within one of the other designated exemptions. Moreover, even an alien who satisfies all the statutory prerequisites for adjustment of status additionally requires the favorable exercise of discretion.
The practical effect of this memorandum is that immediate relatives of active or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces (or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve), who entered the U.S. “illegally” (without inspection or parole), can apply for adjustment of status inside the United States once parole in place has been granted. They no longer need to travel back to their home country to consular process for their permanent residence. This also means that the I-601A Provisional Waiver, or I-601 Extreme Hardship Waiver, is no longer required for this group of applicants, who would have been subject only to the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility upon departure from the U.S.
Keep in mind that the I-601 waiver may still be required as part of the adjustment of status process for those subject to other grounds of inadmissibility, such as fraud/misrepresentation or conviction of a crime of moral turpitude.