Skip to main content

On June 18, 2024, President Biden announced an important program that could bring peace and stability to many families in which a U.S. citizen is married to someone without lawful immigration status. The program would also extend to undocumented children (usually defined in immigration law as someone under 21) whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

From our New Orelans-based immigration attorneys at Pelton + Balducci, here’s what you need to know about this new program.

Understanding the Parole in Place Program (PIP)

The “Parole in Place” program (“PIP”) would be similar to a program that already exists for certain family members of U.S. military personnel. Although marriage to a U.S. citizen is one avenue through which immigrants can apply for permanent residency, it is not the only requirement. 

Individuals who have entered the U.S. unlawfully usually must return to their home country in order to apply for permanent residency. This departure can create substantial risks, delays, and costs. Most individuals who have entered the United States lawfully and are married to a U.S. citizen do not have to return to their home country to apply for permanent residency. This new program would give qualifying spouses of U.S. citizens the equivalent of a lawful entry into the U.S. and therefore allow them to apply for permanent residency without leaving the country.

Eligibility Criteria for the Parole in Place Program

We only have very preliminary information on this program at this point, and not all undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens will qualify. What we know at this point is that to be eligible, the spouses must have:

  • lived in the United States for 10 years,
  • been married to an American citizen as of June 17, and  
  • cannot have a criminal record. 

It is expected that roughly 500,000 spouses and 50,000 children would benefit from the program.

Important Reminders and Cautions for the Parole in Place Program

As we await further details on the Parole in Place program, it’s crucial to keep the following key points in mind to avoid potential issues and misunderstandings:

  • Beware of fraud: The program is not in place now and it is not expected that PIP will take place until the end of summer. It’s important to follow the news to know when the program will take effect.
  • Unresolved details: There are still many details to be clarified. Things we don’t know:
    • What kind of criminal history would disqualify one from the program?
    • How will prior immigration history (e.g., a prior removal order, multiple unlawful entries, etc.) impact eligibility for the program?
  • Parole in Place vs. permanent residency: Parole-in-place is different from permanent residency. It’s possible that eligibility for parole-in-place will not translate into eligibility for permanent residency. 
  • Potential legal challenges: Although the legal basis for parole is different from that used for deferred action (which was used for DACA), it is likely that there will be legal challenges to the program, which could stall it.

Given that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has yet to provide detailed guidance on the application process, it’s advisable to consult with a trusted immigration attorney to assess your eligibility and prepare for when the process becomes clear.

Contact Pelton + Balducci Immigration Attorneys Today

This is an important program that could bring relief to many individuals and families. Although we are excited about the announcement, we still need to wait to see the details of the program and what challenges it will face. 

Contact our team today to discuss what this new program could mean for you and your family.

Skip to content