Immigration’s “Parole in Place:” A Possible Avenue for a Green Card

By 1st Lt. Javier Diaz, Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office

There is no doubt that the threat of negative immigration consequences to a Soldier’s
family will impact a Soldier’s readiness to complete the mission. Understanding that
preventing the separation of military families is a good policy, the government has
provided a discretionary benefit for military families called “Parole in Place.”

What is Parole in Place? If a Soldier’s family member is a foreign national who entered
the U.S. without approval and stayed in the U.S., Parole in Place allows that family
member to stay in the U.S. for a one-year period. The foreign national family member
must apply for Parole in Place on a yearly basis, and it is approved for one year.

What is so beneficial about Parole in Place? If approved, immediate benefits include:
1) protection from deportation because the Soldier’s family member is authorized to stay
in the U.S. for one year; 2) eligibility to apply for a work permit; 3) possible qualification
to adjust status, which is the process to apply for, and be granted, permanent residency
in the U.S.; and 4) no further accrual of unlawful presence during the period for which
Parole in Place is granted.

How is Parole in Place a path to Adjustment of Status? If granted Parole in Place,
even though the Soldier’s family member entered the U.S. unlawfully, the family
member will receive a form I-94, which is often used for a Green Card application as
evidence of lawful entry into the United States. With an approved Parole in Place, the
Green Card application process would take place entirely in the United States.
Conversely, without Parole in Place, a military spouse entering the U.S. without
authorization and applies for a Green Card must travel to a U.S. Embassy in their
country of origin to complete their application. This creates further legal and financial
obstacles to obtain a Green Card and creates the risk of triggering a bar to reentry upon
their return into the United States.

Who can apply for Parole in Place? The following are eligible to apply for Parole in
Place: the spouse, widow(er), parent, son, or daughter of: 1) an active-duty member of
the U.S. armed forces; 2) a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve; or
3) a living or deceased military veteran who was not dishonorably discharged and who
served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.

What are the limits of Parole in Place? Parole in Place does not: 1) excuse any
periods of unlawful presence; 2) by itself, give the parolee any immigration status – it
only assumes you entered and stayed lawfully; and 3) impact any other applicable
grounds of inadmissibility to being a U.S. citizen.

If you have questions about the Parole in Place process and want to speak with an
attorney, contact the Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office at (915) 568-7141 or to make an