Excerpts are from USCIS Policy Memo PM-602-0091, issued November 15, 2013.
Secretary of Homeland Security on August 30, 2010 emphasized the Department’s commitment to assisting military families. The Secretary identified several of the discretionary tools “help military dependents secure permanent immigration status in the United States as soon as possible” which includes “parole … to minimize periods of family separation, and to facilitate adjustment of status within the United States by immigrants who are the spouses, parents and children of military members.”
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 legal authority for granting parole in place was formally recognized by the INS in a 1998 opinion.
That opinion was endorsed the following year in a memorandum by the then- INS Commissioner. In 2007, the then-DHS General Counsel concurred with the 1998 INS General Counsel’s opinion in relevant part.
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.”
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.
An alien who entered the United States without inspection, but subsequently receives parole, is not inadmissible under either of the two inadmissibility grounds contained in section 212(a)(6)(A)(i).”
“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. Thus, 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.