Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), President Obama’s use of executive orders to temporarily protect from deportation undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States as children, has helped many, many people. What it didn’t do was offer any route to a green card or citizenship.
And with President Trump taking office, the status of DACA and all those who benefited from it came into doubt the moment the oath was taken.
Over the last few years, however, one path for DACA recipients who are otherwise eligible for a green card as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, but whose entry into the United States without inspection has barred them from adjusting status, has been carved out by clever attorneys and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The BIA held that an individual who left the United States with the temporary travel authorization known as advance parole did not depart the United States in a way that would block future immigration benefits, but such an individual still enters the United States with inspection, allowing them to adjust status.
To receive advance parole, the individual must prove that their trip is necessary for some serious reason, such as illness to a close family member.
Two weeks after the election, Andrew Bloomberg of our firm was hired by an American citizen and her husband on DACA.
The timeline was even more constrained – the normal processing time for Advance Parole applications would put them well past President Trump’s inauguration. We had to get an application on file and then our clients had to go to a USCIS field office and ask that their application be approved on an emergency basis (which they USCIS has total discretion to approve or deny).
Our clients and our firm scrambled to collect and translate medical documents from the husband’s home country, and we got the application on file. As soon as the filing receipt came, they drove to their local field office and were told that that office simply doesn’t do emergency advance parole, a completely inappropriate blanket refusal.
The next day, they had to drive to another field office hours away. This time, they were met with a much more professional, reasonable response and the application was approved.
Within a couple of days they were on a plane, and they arrived back in the United States on Thursday, January 19, one day before the inauguration. We are now getting started on their green card application. It seems to have worked out this time, but situations like this are why we encourage our clients to apply for immigration benefits as soon as they are eligible for them.
Great job, Andrew! We are happy for you and our clients.