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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Humanitarian parole program for CNMI terminated

USCIS Director L. Frances Cissna

Effective immediately, the humanitarian parole programs for the CNMI are terminated but the federal government allows a 180-day transition period, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced.

Humanitarian parole for the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens in the Marianas, immediate relatives of citizens of the freely associated states including Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Palau, certain stateless individuals and persons with permanent resident status, and in-home caregivers can be extended until June 29, 2019, USCIS said in a press release Friday.

The parole policies covering these groups, begun during the Obama administration.

USCIS Director L. Frances Cissna

“Although USCIS will not otherwise authorize re-parole under these programs, it will allow a transitional parole period and extension of employment authorization (if applicable) for up to 180 days,” USCIS said. “The transitional parole period of up to 180 days will help ensure an orderly wind-down of the programs and provide an opportunity for individuals to prepare to depart or seek another lawful status.”

USCIS Director L. Frances Cissna said those now on parole could apply to stay in the Marianas during the transition. They could be granted work authorization and could use the extra time to look for some other immigration status or arrange to leave the Marianas.

Gregorio Kilili Sablan

“I want to thank Director Cissna for granting this temporary reprieve for the 1,500 or so who currently have humanitarian parole,” CNMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan said. “It is not automatic. The extension must be applied for. And the director said, so far, they have only received about 500 applications. So, I encourage anyone who has parole now to move quickly to get an extension.”

USCIS said current parolees who have requested an extension of parole from USCIS will receive a letter granting an additional 180 days transitional parole, unless there is a specific reason to deny the request as determined on a case-by-case basis.

“For those parolees with an employment authorization document (EAD) expiring at the same time as their parole, that letter and the EAD will serve as evidence of identity and work authorization for employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) purposes during the 180-day period.”

USCIS will also issue a new EAD valid for the duration of the re-parole period to those parolees who request an extension of parole. The new EAD will be issued automatically upon approval for the period of re-parole, and no new employment authorization application or fee will be required.

“Of course, I would have preferred for USCIS to continue the humanitarian parole system for another two-year period, as the Obama administration did in 2012, 2014, and 2016,” Sablan said. “I recognize, however, that the Trump administration does not think that parole should be applied to a large category of people. It is meant to be applied strictly on an individual, case-by-case basis.”

President Trump issued an Executive Order on Jan. 25, 2017, requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to “take appropriation action to ensure that parole authority … is exercised only on a case-by-case basis … and only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.”

Cissna cited the Executive Order in his letter to Sablan. “Pursuant to this E.O., I have conducted a review of USCIS categorical parole programs. As part of that review, I considered the CNMI categorical parole programs, and determined that these programs represent a broader implementation of the parole statute than is appropriate."


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