Obama Policy Memo Outlines How Illegal Immigrants Can Obtain ‘legal status’ If They Are Family Members Of A U.S. Military Service Member.
Memo Could Affect 65,000 Military Immigrants
A memo released by the Obama administration outlines how and when the administration can legally permit relatives of U.S. service military members who are here illegally to stay in the country on a “parole in place” status. This will essentially give illegal immigrants “legal status” as long as they don’t have a criminal record and are family members of a U.S. military service member. This applies to both current and former U.S. military service member family members.
Before Policy Memorandum PM-602-0091, issued on November 15, 2013, relatives here illegally were still able to remain in the country but were required to apply for “parole in place”. This was often very confusing and convoluted to military service member family members. Additionally, it was not taken advantage of due to the uncertainty and lack of awareness surrounding the matter. It is currently estimated that nearly 5% of our active duty military members are currently immigrants meaning this law will affect a significant amount of individuals as there are around 65,000 military immigrants who currently serve on active-duty.
This is not a change in law, but a memorandum of how this law will be enforced. This is also a significant relief for individuals who are serving on active duty, or have served and have military family members that are illegal immigrants. The memorandum outlines how to apply a 2010 law change that allowed family members to apply for the “parole in place” as long as they did not have a criminal record.
Family members must meet all of the requirements in order to obtain legal status. The eligibility for parole in place remains the same. To be eligible for parole in place, you must be a spouse, child or parent of either an Active Duty military service member, selected reserve of the Ready reserve, or someone who previously served in the US Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
It is important to note that individuals in these three groups do not automatically qualify, but they must be part of the three groups in order to qualify. If you are in the qualified groups, you may apply for the “PiP” status.
To apply for the PiP status, you must fill out Form I-131 entitled “Application for Travel Document” and provide supporting documentation. Another important thing to note is that PiP status is not an “amnesty” for family members of military personnel; however, all PiP recipients will be free from risk of deportation due to their illegal status. The PiP status is granted on a one year basis and is renewable upon its expiration. Click here to learn more about this program.
The Parole in Place program and the administration’s reiteration of the law is a great benefit that military members and their families can use to relieve stress. These individuals have sacrificed their time, and some their lives, to defend a country of which they do not yet hold citizenship. It is not amnesty but is a great step in allowing the tensions and stresses that come with military life to ease just a small amount.
To read the actual Obama Policy Memorandum affecting relatives of U.S. service military members, click here.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.