humanitarian parole


Last week Pres. Obama used a provision called “humanitarian parole” to give temporary status to immigrant entrepreneurs, historically this parole has only been used during a time of emergency.

Humanitarian parole allows the DHS secretary to admit foreigners into the U.S. for a “temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency,” such as to allow someone to undergo a life-saving medical treatment they can’t receive in the homeland or to testify in a court case.

“It was intended as a very, very limited power the president could exercise … It was intended to be used very rarely,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Like a lot of powers, this president extended it as far as it could possibly be extended.”

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said that past presidents have used this parole when people were “fleeing some kind of unrest or civil war.” She explained that the parole was used to help Cubans who were fleeing the Castro regime to immigrate to America before the Cuban Adjustment Act was passed. President Dwight Eisenhower used this provision to admit 32,000 Hungarians, who escaped the 1956 Soviet invasion, into America.

Vaughan remarked that she feels Pres. Obama’s parole loosens up the parole’s criteria and is “basically creating a new category allowing people to stay.”

David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, called the use of this parole unnecessary since the government already has a visa program for foreign investors called the EB-5 program.

Mehlman remarked, “There is no legal authority for parole in place. It’s part of a steady erosion of respect for immigration laws that we’ve seen.”

Pres. Obama has used a variety of paroles in order to allow immigrants to remain in the U.S. He created and expanded the Central American Minors (CAM) program to allow children and then their parents, siblings, and other family members from Central America to remain in the U.S. He also used “advanced parole” to grant a reprieve from deportation to all illegal immigrants who qualified for the DACA program. Under advanced parole DACA recipients were allowed to leave the U.S. in order to receive their green card and then return to the U.S. without facing any penalties.

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Updated: Wed, Jul 12th 2017 @ 10:08am EDT