On June 18, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced actions to promote family unity in the immigration process, and specifically, a new process to consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests for certain undocumented noncitizen spouses and step-children of U.S. citizens to be granted “Parole-in Place” (PIP). PIP is a discretionary option to provide certain individuals who are in the United States without a valid immigration status with a temporary status called “parole.” PIP status allows them to remain in the United States for a specific period while allowing them to apply for permanent residence/green card status through their U.S. Citizen spouses within the United States. As such, if eligible, these undocumented noncitizens will be able to apply for lawful permanent residence without having to leave the United States.

DHS estimates that approximately 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens could be eligible to access this process; on average, these noncitizens have resided in the United States for 23 years. Approximately 50,000 children of these spouses will also be eligible for this process.

After evaluating on a case-by-case basis, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant these noncitizens:

  • Parole for a one-time period of three years.
  • Employment authorization may be issued for up to three years.

If granted parole-in-place, these undocumented noncitizens will be able to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card status) within three years of approval of parole-in-place without leaving the United States.

To be considered on a case-by-case basis for this process, a noncitizen must: 

  • Be present in the United States without admission or parole;
  • Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024; and
  • In the case of a noncitizen spouse, have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.
  • In the case of noncitizen children, they may be considered under this process if they are physically present in the United States without admission or parole and have a qualifying stepchild relationship with a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.

In addition, individuals must have no disqualifying criminal history or otherwise constitute a threat to national security or public safety, are otherwise eligible to apply for adjustment of status and should otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

Per DHS, it estimates that approximately 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens could be eligible to access this process; on average, these noncitizens have resided in the United States for 23 years. Approximately 50,000 children of these noncitizen spouses also will be eligible for this process.

Note that noncitizens who pose a threat to national security or public safety will not be eligible for this process. If a noncitizen poses a threat to national security or public safety, DHS will detain, remove, or refer them to other federal agencies for further vetting, investigation, or prosecution as appropriate.

Further information regarding eligibility and the application process, including a notice in the Federal Register, will be published in the near term. USCIS will reject any filings or individual requests received before the date when the application period begins later this summer.

Policy Update for College-educated DACA Recipients

On June 18, 2024, DHS announced that it will join the Department of State in an effort to more efficiently facilitate certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas for eligible individuals, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, who have graduated from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.

  • College-educated DACA recipients and Dreamers who are qualified for nonimmigrant status, such as an H-1B specialty occupation visa may be eligible to apply for a temporary visa more easily, if:
    • The DACA recipient has a degree from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education; and
    • The DACA recipient has an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to the DACA recipient’s degree.

This program is expected to launch by the end of the summer after a Federal Register notice detailing the application process and other information is published. Applications submitted prior to the start date listed in the notice will be rejected.

The information herein is based upon a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Fact Sheet released as of June 17, 2024 and announced on June 18, 2024: Fact Sheet: DHS Announces New Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families, as well as information received from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). For more information, please visit: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2024/06/17/fact-sheet-dhs-announces-new-process-promote-unity-and-stability-families


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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster 
Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 290 attorneys and consultants, and over 290 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com

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