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Parole in Place: Another immigration program in uncertain status

The legal landscape for anyone with family members who are immigrants is in a state of major flux. Whether you are in Staten Island, the West Coast or anywhere in between, questions likely are on the rise. Included in the wondering ranks have got to be families brought together and supported by virtue of the so-called Parole in Place program.

We wrote about this policy on at least one previous occasion. Instituted in 2013 by then-President Obama, parole in place provides a path to legal status for the closest immigrant relatives of current and former U.S. service members. Those covered include parents, spouses and children of active and retired military.

At the time it started, the order firmed up policy that had been largely left up to the discretion of officials of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. By it, unauthorized immigrants meeting specific criteria who were arrested were to be granted parole in place status on an annual basis.

With the new administration, it appears the program is being reined in. John Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security, sent out a memo to officials recently in which ordered the parole policy to be used "sparingly." The reason for the action, he said, was that it has contributed to border insecurity, undermined existing law and encouraged "additional illegal immigration."

To be clear, the program isn't gone, merely restricted. However, some observers suggest the limitations could make it more difficult for those who make sacrifices in service to the country to keep their families whole.

Where questions around such matters exist, consulting a skilled attorney would seem to be advice well taken.

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