Obama to use parole power to reunite family members of WWII veterans
ON JULY 15, the White House report on “Modernizing and Streamlining our Immigration System for the 21st Century” was released to the public.
One of the major recommendations in the report is the use of the “parole” power to reunite family members with the Filipino World War II veterans.
What is the nature of this parole power? Who will benefit from this recommendation?
In the early ’90s, thousands of Filipino veterans filed petitions for their family members. The purpose for filing the petitions is for the veterans to be reunited with their adult children.
Unfortunately, with only 226,000-a-year limit on the number of family-based petitions, there are 4.2 million-approved petitions that are in the pipeline and awaiting for the priority dates to become current.
Unlike other new immigrants who file their petitions for their children, the Filipino veterans were in their late ’70s and early ’80s when they were granted naturalization. The opportunity to apply for US citizenship was only given to them through the enactment of the Immigration Nationality Act of 1990.
Since they are elderly petitioners and with the lengthy petitioning process, it is not surprising that the veteran dies before the priority date of the family petition becomes current. When the petitioner dies, the petition dies as well resulting in loss of opportunity for the beneficiary child to immigrate to the United States. This is often the sad plight of most Filipino veterans and their families.
Obama issued a memorandum in December 2014 seeking comments from various agencies and groups on ways to improve the immigration system.
To address the predicament of veterans being separated from their family, a group of veterans’ advocates and Asian Americans Advancing Justice sent a detailed memorandum to the interagency task forced charged with recommending areas of improvement in the legal system.
One of the recommendations is for Obama to exercise his power to parole children of World War II veterans who are waiting in the backlog to live and work in the United States while they await for their immigrant visas.
Parole refers to an official permission for an otherwise inadmissible non-US citizen to legally enter the US temporarily. This includes those required to have a visa to visit or immigrate to the United States who are unable to obtain one, either due to ineligibility, inadmissibility or urgent circumstances that make it impractical to apply for one.
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the sole discretionary authority to parole a non-US citizen into the United States temporarily for urgent humanitarian reasons or for a significant public benefit.
In the recently released White House report, the recommendation is for DHS to create a parole program for family members of Filipino veterans who wish to provide support and care to their Filipino veteran parents who are US citizens or green card holders. The regulation to implement this program has not yet been published but the decisions to parole clearly will be made on a case-by-case basis.
(The author may be reached at [email protected], facebook.com/tancincolaw, www.tancinco.com or  721-1963.)
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