CARLOS is a married child petitioned by his U.S. citizen father. His priority date is October 30, 1992 and it’s just a matter of months before his visa becomes available. Unfortunately, his father who is 87 years old, suffered a heart attack after Christmas and is now in a care facility. He applied for a tourist visa so he can visit his father but his application was denied. His family wonders if there is a way for Carlos to see his ailing father.
Foreign nationals or aliens who have urgent medical and family needs like Carlos —but cannot obtain visas from embassies abroad — can try to apply for a Humanitarian Parole.
Humanitarian Parole is highly discretionary and is not an immigration benefit. It is considered as an “extraordinary measure, sparingly used only in urgent or emergency circumstances, by which the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security may permit an inadmissible alien temporarily to enter or remain in the United States.” It is “not intended to bypass immigration procedures or avoid visa processing procedures and timelines” and is granted only upon clear evidence that the “parole applicant has exhausted visa processes, including any waivers to grounds of inadmissibility.”
Section 212(d)(s)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to “in his discretion, parole into the United States temporarily under such conditions as he may prescribe only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit any alien applying for admission into the United States.”
In practice, the Secretary’s parole authority is delegated to the 3 bureaus of the Homeland Security — the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — who all exercise parole authority concurrently.
Humanitarian Parole is categorized based on which agency will receive and adjudicate the application. The following cases must be submitted to the USCIS: 1. Urgent medical, family, and related needs; and 2. Aliens who will participate in civil proceedings where all parties are private litigants.
On the other hand, ICE will be the adjudicating authority for the following cases: 1. Aliens who will participate in administrative, judicial, or legislative proceedings, and/or investigations, whether at the federal, state, local, or tribal level of government; 2. Aliens in removal proceedings or who have final orders, as well as aliens granted deferred action by ICE at any point after the commencement of removal proceedings, regardless of whether the alien is within or outside of the U.S.; 3. Aliens who will participate in events hosted by an international organization located within the U.S. (e.g., UN, OAS); 4. Section 7 parole (50 USC 403[h]); and 5. Intelligence. Aliens who are registered sources of a member of the U.S.
Intelligence Community and whose parole furthers the National Intelligence mission, or aliens whose parole is sought by the Department of State Cooperative Threat Reduction Program or by the Intelligence Community.
The above list is non-exhaustive and USCIS will adjudicate all other parole applications that are not otherwise assigned to ICE and/or the CBP.
Only a foreign national or alien who is outside the United States can apply for Humanitarian Parole. Anyone may file the application – the parole applicant himself, a sponsoring relative, an attorney, or any other interested individual or organization. The application must be accompanied by supporting documentation of the emergency or urgent nature of the applicant’s circumstances, and proof that applicant has tried to secure a visa and/or applied for waiver of inadmissibility but was denied. In cases of medical emergencies, there must be an accompanying medical certificate regarding the diagnosis; lack of appropriate treatment in the home country or neighboring country; duration and cost of treatment in the United States; ability to pay for the treatment; and evidence of strong ties to the home country to guarantee applicant’s return to his/her home country.
An initial grant of parole is only for a set period of time that corresponds with the length of the emergency or humanitarian situation, but not to exceed one (1) year. However, an extension may be requested. Humanitarian Parole does not give a parolee any permanent immigration status and does not authorize a parolee to work in the United States.
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Atty. Aurora Vega-Buzon is a partner in Chua Tinsay & Vega, A Professional Legal Corporation (CTV) – a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Philippines. The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (619) 955-6277; (415) 495-8088; firstname.lastname@example.org