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630-932-9100
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Humanitarian Parole: A Potential Lifeline

Posted on in Immigration
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DuPage County immigration attorneys, humanitarian parole, immigration benefit, llinois immigration attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, refugee lawIn very rare circumstances, someone who is inadmissible to the United States will need to enter anyway. He or she may require medical attention that is only available in the U.S., or something might have happened in his or her home country that mandates immediate flight. In those unusual situations, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a rarely-used status called humanitarian parole.


For Emergencies Only

Humanitarian parole is often discussed in the context of asylum and refugee law, though it is not technically an immigration benefit. It stems from the discretion of USCIS officials under Section 212.5 of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA). Section 212(d)(5)(A) states that immigration officials may parole an immigrant into the United States for certain specific reasons. These reasons include:

  • Having a serious medical condition that makes continuous detention a poor option;
  • Being a pregnant woman;
  • Being a juvenile (as defined by INA)—though there must be a relative or close non-relative who can take custody of the juvenile;
  • Serving as a witness in U.S. government proceedings—the immigrant will be paroled into the country for the term of the proceeding; and
  • Any other reason that would render an immigrant’s continued detention ‘not in the public interest.’

The last point gives immigration officials broad discretion to grant parole, but they must do so only for a specific, set term. Conditions will also be set upon the parole that must be fulfilled, with the consequences for non-compliance being automatic termination, regardless of whether the immigrant’s business has been concluded.

It is important to be aware that parole cannot be used to bypass the normal consular system. Parole may be granted even if someone is inadmissible, but it does not grant any license to remain in the United States after the emergency situation has concluded. If an individual is able to apply for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, he or she must do so; parole is for emergencies only. In rare circumstances, a parolee might be able to adjust status from parolee to something more permanent, but only if he or she previously had an application in before receiving parole (for example, a Cuban refugee whose application for permanent residence was approved when his or her priority date came up).

Application Procedure

The requirements for parole are simple; anyone in an emergency situation may apply, or a person within the U.S. may apply on his or her close relative’s behalf. The individual must complete a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, as well as an Affidavit of Support to show he or she will not become a public charge. It usually takes around four months (120 days) for parole cases to be decided. If an individual is accepted, he or she is able to enter the U.S. for a certain period of time; he or she is also eligible to file for re-parole (basically an extension of parole) at least 90 days before the parole expires.

There is no right of appeal if applicant is denied. However, if new information becomes relevant, the individual may submit a new application, making a point of showing that his or her circumstances have changed since the last application. USCIS tends to ‘triage’ requests for humanitarian parole, honoring those requests where the individual is in the most serious situation first. Medical emergencies usually top the list, though other reasons parole is granted include family reunification and disabled people seeking long-term treatment.

An Immigration Attorney Can Help

If you are having an emergency and need to get into the U.S., we can help. The Illinois immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have years of experience in these matters, and we will do our best for you. Contact our office today for a free consultation. Call 630-932-9100.

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