Can your New Jersey military relative get you legal status in the US?

////Can your New Jersey military relative get you legal status in the US?
A client showed up for his appointment this week and asked me this very question.  He is Marine veteran, honorably discharged and he wants to petition for his mother.  Here is the situation.  His mother entered the U.S. without inspection, meaning illegally.  She has been here for over 20 years and has three U.S. citizen children, the eldest which served in the army.  There is nothing that prevents her kids from applying for her, but since she entered illegally she can’t adjust her status in the U.S.  She would have to do Consular Processing, which requires departing the U.S.  For her, the departure triggers the 10 year bar.  Now ordinarily she could file for a waiver of the bar, but she doesn’t have a qualifying relative to show extreme hardship in order to qualify for the waiver.  Her three kids don’t count.  Ordinarily, my answer would be your son can file but since you won’t be able to return for 10 years, I wouldn’t recommend filing.  Parole in Place fills that void for people like her.

What is Parole in Place?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum on November 15, 2013 which clarified Parole in Place.  The memo says that a spouse, child, or parent of a qualifying military member (active duty, reserve, or veteran) will be able to achieve legal status in the U.S.  Parole in Place allows the military relative to request parole for his or her immediate relative.  Once parole is granted, the immediate relative military member can then apply for your green card.  Parole in Place will forgive the illegal entry.

Who is Eligible for Parole in Place?

The decision to grant Parole in Place is discretionary.  That means it is on the applicant to show they warrant discretion.  The philosophy behind this is our troops should not have to worry about the stress of a loved one facing deportation while they are serving their country.  You must show the following:

  1. You are active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or veteran who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forced or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve;
  2. You have an immediate relative (parent, spouse, or child) for whom you want to apply;
  3. Your immediate relative hasn’t been convicted of disqualifying crime; and
  4. Your immediate relative is a good moral person deserving of discretion

After receiving Parole in Place can my immediate relative Adjust her Status?

Yes, if the only barrier to her adjustment was the illegal entry.  The granting of parole satisfies the requirement that your immediate relative be “inspected, admitted, or paroled.”  If your relative is an immediate relative, then she can adjust.  If she isn’t an immediate relative, meaning that she isn’t your spouse, parent, or child, she must satisfy a different exception in INA section 245(k).  An immediate relative, for example, doesn’t have to show that she has maintained legal status prior to your application.

So, the army veteran who met with me yesterday, he can apply for his mother.  She will not have to leave the U.S., and she will not be subject to the 10 year bar.  She will be able to adjust her status in the U.S.  The process will take a little longer because she must first be granted parole in place, but she was very happy to receive the good news.

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