As discussed in our previous blog, for several years, the government has used a program called Parole in Place (“PIP”) to permit foreign nationals who entered the U.S. without inspection (“EWI”) and who are spouses of U.S. citizens on active duty in the U.S. military the ability to file for lawful permanent residence (“green card”) in the U.S. without the need to depart or apply for a waiver. Until now, however, the PIP program was not consistently applied at various U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) offices throughout the U.S. As a result, many military members have been reluctant to file for their spouses, leaving them to remain in the U.S. without any lawful status.
This week, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) clarified many issues in the PIP program and expanded the program to benefit all spouses, children, and parents of active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, current or former members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and veterans.
While the PIP program was previously only available to spouses of members of the military, it now also extends to members’ parents and children. In addition, where the program was previously restricted to U.S. citizens in the military, now all members of the military, regardless of their immigration status, can take advantage of the program. Finally, the program no longer applies only to those on active duty in the military, but also to current and former reservists and veterans.
While this expansion of the PIP program is welcome news for all military families, it will not necessarily result in their family members obtaining a green card. There may still be other barriers for a family member to obtain a green card, including potential criminal issues or prior immigration violations as well as if the sponsoring military member is not yet a US citizen. If you or someone you know may benefit from an application for Parole in Place, please contact an immigration attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.