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Biden Administration Announces Parole in Place for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Posted by Hugo R. Valverde, Managing Attorney, and Anna D. Colby, Attorney Social Media Marketing Manager | Jul 08, 2024 | 0 Comments

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

An estimated 16.7 million people live in mixed immigration-status households, meaning they have a spouse or a dependent who is an undocumented immigrant. 1.2 million of those people are married to U.S. citizens without having formal immigration status themselves—even though, in theory, many should have a path to green cards.

Now, a new policy announcement from the Biden Administration is providing a green card pathway for many people in mixed-status households. In order to “promote family unity in the immigration process” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced parole-in-place for certain noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens, and in certain cases, noncitizen stepchildren of U.S. citizens.

The new process, which was announced in June (also available in Spanish here), will be life changing for the people who qualify for it. Under current law, those who entered the U.S. without inspection are not typically eligible to apply for permanent residence, and the process to leave the U.S. and re-enter with inspection can result in people being stuck outside of the U.S. for years. Someone who has been granted humanitarian parole, including parole-in-place, counts as having been “inspected and paroled” into the United States under federal law,and therefore can remain in the U.S. while applying for permanent residence (if eligible). DHS announced that all requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis, meaning it is not a guaranteed process, but the federal agency did announce what would make someone eligible for the process:

To be considered for the parole in place a spouse of a U.S. citizen must:

  • Be present in the United States without admission or parole;

  • Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024; 

  • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024; and

  • Have no disqualifying criminal history or otherwise constitute a threat to national security or public safety.

The government also announced that noncitizen children of potential requestors may be considered for parole under this process if they are physically present in the United States without admission or parole and have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.

DHS estimates that around 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens could be eligible to access this process, and approximately 50,000 children of those spouses will also be eligible for this process. 

We know that an application process will be available in the near future, but it has not been published yet. We will keep a close eye on the upcoming Federal Register notice and will keep you informed! We are looking forward to helping many families be able to apply for this new process. 

If you would like assistance with an immigration petition, you can reach us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.

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