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Announcement: New Pathway to Legal Status for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Parole in Place Policy Introduced by Biden Administration

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently launched a significant initiative to support family unity among undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens. This new policy change enables noncitizen spouses, who have lived in the United States for at least ten years, to apply for lawful permanent residence without needing to leave the country.

Key Aspects of the Parole in Place (PIP) Policy

The Parole in Place (PIP) policy offers temporary legal status and work permits to undocumented individuals married to U.S. citizens who have been residing in the U.S. for at least ten years as of June 17, 2024. This status allows them to work legally and provides protection from deportation as they adjust their immigration status.

Recipients of PIP can apply for permanent residency (green cards) and eventually pursue U.S. citizenship without having to leave the country, which is a significant change from current requirements that often force individuals to return to their home country to apply for legal status. This policy aims to prevent long-term family separations and alleviate the associated emotional and financial hardships.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for PIP, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Legally married to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.
  • No threat to public safety or national security and no disqualifying criminal history.
  • Present in the United States without admission or parole.
  • Continuously present in the United States for at least ten years as of June 17, 2024.
  • Merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

Application Process

Eligible individuals can apply for lawful permanent residence without leaving the United States. The application process involves submitting a form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing supporting documentation, and paying a fee. DHS will review each application on a case-by-case basis, considering factors like previous immigration history, criminal background, and the results of background checks. The application process is expected to begin by the end of summer 2024.

Impact on Families

The PIP policy is anticipated to significantly impact mixed-status families by allowing undocumented spouses to legalize their status without fear of deportation. This policy not only supports family unity but also enhances their participation in society and the economy. Nearly 500,000 undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens and an additional 50,000 noncitizen children under 21 years of age are expected to benefit from this policy.

Historical Context and Legal Challenges

The concept of Parole in Place has existed on a smaller scale for the families of U.S. military members since the Bush administration. The current expansion represents the largest relief effort for undocumented immigrants since the 1986 amnesty law. Despite positive reception from immigrant advocacy groups, the policy may face legal challenges, as previous use of parole authority by the Biden administration has been contested in court. However, the policy aims to balance humanitarian concerns with national security considerations, ensuring that noncitizens posing a threat are not eligible and may face detention or removal.

Other Policy Changes

In addition to PIP, DHS will work with the Department of State to streamline processes for certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas, benefiting DACA recipients and undocumented noncitizens who have graduated from U.S. institutions of higher education. This aims to boost U.S. employers’ confidence in hiring and integrating this talent into the workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if I already have a pending I-601A (Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver)? Speak with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility for PIP. If eligible, you will not need to wait for an approved I-601A waiver to complete your green card process. PIP will allow you to seek adjustment of status within three years through USCIS.

2. Is PIP available to individuals outside the United States? No, PIP is only applicable to spouses of U.S. citizens currently inside the U.S.

3. What if my case is pending at the National Visa Center (NVC)? Consult with an immigration attorney to assess your eligibility for PIP. Depending on your case’s status at the NVC, you may either continue your NVC process or apply for adjustment of status under PIP.

4. Does PIP assist individuals with DACA? If eligible for PIP and having DACA, you may seek adjustment of status through your U.S. citizen spouse.

5. Am I eligible for PIP if I entered the country legally with a visa? PIP is designed for spouses of U.S. citizens who entered the U.S. without admission or parole. If you entered legally, you can seek adjustment of status through existing pathways.

Planning Your Roadmap to Success

Whether you need assistance with visa applications, green cards, citizenship, or other immigration matters, we are here to support you every step of the way. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to achieve your immigration goals. With proper legal counsel and diligent preparation, your success is attainable. Partner with our office to navigate your immigration journey successfully.

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As an experienced immigration attorney in Florida, I am committed to guiding you through every step of this journey. For personalized assistance and more detailed strategies tailored to your unique case, feel free to contact my office.

Law Office or Carlos A. Baradat, P.A.
(239) 206-1779