U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced its intention to terminate two categorical parole programs, consistent with Executive Order (E.O.) 13767, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, and to better ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law. Parole is a process that allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter or remain in the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible. The programs to be terminated are the Haitian Family Reunification Parole program and the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program.
Under both of these categorical parole programs, individuals with approved family-based immigrant petitions have been authorized to enter and work in the United States while waiting for their green card to become available. The decision to end these parole programs ends the expedited processing that was made available to these populations in a categorical fashion. It follows an extensive review to better ensure that parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act is exercised on a case-by-case basis when there is a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reason. Categorical parole refers to programs designed to consider parole for entire groups of individuals based on pre-set criteria.
“Under these categorical parole programs, individuals have been able to skip the line and bypass the proper channels established by Congress. With the termination of these programs, these individuals will no longer be permitted to wait in the United States for their family-based green card to become available, consistent with the rules that apply to the rest of the world,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “Parole is to be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. USCIS is committed to exercising this limited authority in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage aliens to unlawfully enter the United States.”
While USCIS begins the process to terminate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole and Filipino World War II Veterans Parole programs, the agency continues to review all remaining categorical parole programs. USCIS will not terminate any program until we complete required administrative changes to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and the form is approved for public use. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) process will provide notice to the affected individuals, explain the reasons USCIS is taking action, and provide public comment periods on the termination of these programs.
Current parolees will maintain their current period of parole until its expiration, unless it is otherwise terminated. USCIS will also process all pending cases to completion. In addition, parolees who have not adjusted status or been admitted may request parole under the non-categorical process by filing Form I-131, in accordance with the form instructions. Additional information on applying for non-categorical parole is available on the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page.