Some members of congress have stated that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Prosecutorial Discretion Policy will allow hundreds of thousands or even millions of unlawful immigrants that aren’t eligible for citizenship to bypass existing laws and obtain legal status through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) has recently been expanded and is available to more individuals. Although PD could be a very good option for undocumented immigrants who are not a threat to national security and wish to remain in the United States legally, it does not create a new pathway to citizenship. This article will discuss the truth about Prosecutorial Discretion, Green Cards and Advance Parole.
“Prosecutorial Discretion” es un concepto legal que podría permitir a los inmigrantes indocumentados quedarse en los Estados Unidos y evitar la deportación inmediata. Es importante saber que “Prosecutorial Discretion” no crea una nueva forma de obtener la ciudadanía americana. Para obtener más información en Español, llámenos o envíenos un mensaje para discutir los detalles de su caso.
What is “Advance Parole”?
Chairman Goodlatte and Senator Lee claim that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed a new method of obtaining citizenship under DAPA and DACA by allowing the recipients to use something called “advance parole” to receive green cards or even full citizenship. Advanced parole on its own is an already well established practice that allows a person to come back to the United States after traveling through foreign countries. It’s a commonly used method that’s often employed by people that are covered by a variety of immigrant statuses, such as recipients of deferred action, employment visas, or family visas.
Who is Eligible for a Green Card using advance parole?
Hundreds of thousands or millions is not an accurate count of individuals when it comes to those who may qualify for a green card using advanced parole. Only a portion of individuals who are given advanced parole are going to be eligible for the green card once they return to the country. Only immediate family members (parents, spouses, or children) would qualify if they are under the age of 21 and unmarried, or a citizen adult child. Those who have not maintained a lawful status or those who have worked without any authorization at all will not be eligible.
Can DACA/DAPA Applicants Get a Green Card?
There will only be certain individuals who will be able to apply for a green card and eventually citizenship. In order to apply, these individuals will either need to qualify under an employment based work visa or will need to obtain sponsorship from a qualifying member of their family. If they don’t have a qualifying family member that will be able to sponsor them, then applicants in DACA or DAPA will not be eligible for a status adjustment within the process. It is important to remember that this is not a new rule. Prosecutorial Discretion could help benefit undocumented immigrants remain in the United States but, it does not change existing rules regarding green cards.
Keeping Families Together is a Goal
Current laws allow for spouses and small children of citizens or adult citizens to apply for a visa without regard to numerical quotas if it’s based on their family relationship. Keeping families together has been the foundation of the country’s immigration policy for many years.
This new advanced parole policy will expedite reunification under existing law, which is what Congress intended to do in the first place. There is a rather small amount of DAPA or DACA recipients who will qualify to adjust status using the advanced parole method, and those that do will be using a method that was created by Congress specifically to keep families together
How Does This Affect Me?
Although Prosecutorial Discretion does not create a new pathway to citizenship, individuals who qualify for DACA or DAPA should speak with an immigration lawyer. Every case can be different and it is important to understand how recent immigration decisions effect you. To learn more about prosecutorial discretion, advance parole and green cards, contact Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC by phone or send us a message online and tell us about your case. We offer consultations and are happy to help you understand what your best option is.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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