A new immigration policy recently passed by the Obama Administration has relieved stress and distractions for many military families.
The new policy provides undocumented relatives of active U.S. service members the opportunity to stay in the United States. Eligible relatives include spouses, parents, veterans, and children. The government admitted concern for troops who were facing anxieties and distress over family deportations.
Eligible family members will have the chance to apply for “parole-in-place” status which provides undocumented relatives the opportunity to stay in the U.S. legally for one year increments. Applicants are able to renew their status through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The Previous Issues
Though it has been challenging to change the American Immigration System, the Obama administration is focusing on creating smaller polices that have a higher chance of passing through Congress. The policy became a top priority for the administration after additional pressure from immigration reform advocates.
Currently, the green card process for immediate family members involves having U.S. citizens file on behalf of close relatives. However, if the immigrant relative entered the United States illegally, they are expected to return to their home country before filing. For many, returning back to the home country creates a possible 10 year ban of entering the United States. In order to avoid the ban, many military members dedicated a substantial amount of time and resources to assist their family members with the paperwork and legal services. However, possible waivers to avoid the ban can take several months to process. As a result, the amount of time spent with immigration paperwork and filing eventually distracted military members from required duties.
Other affected military members become so overwhelmed with the relative’s documentation, that they decided to abandon the filing process and leave relatives undocumented. Though, leaving family members undocumented risks the possibility of deportation.
The New Policy Introduces Potential Conflicts
The “Parole-in-Place” policy has the potential to clash with existing military regulations. Branches of the military already ban those enlisting if their spouse is an undocumented immigrant. These current military regulations are put in place to alleviate military ID cards being issued to undocumented dependents of military members.
Though, the USCIS has determined that the “parole-In-place” status will be administered on a “case-to-case” basis. The status is only meant for significant humanitarian or public benefit purposes. If you have any additional questions please access the USCIS Policy Memorandum or contact our immigration attorneys.