Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background

A. Purpose

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) gives the Secretary of Homeland Security discretionary authority to parole into the United States temporarily, under conditions the Secretary may prescribe, on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, any noncitizen applying for admission to the United States, regardless of whether the person is inadmissible to, or removable from, the United States.[1]

Congress did not define the phrase “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” entrusting the interpretation and application of these standards to the Secretary. 

B. Background

Parole decisions are discretionary determinations made on a case-by-case basis consistent with the INA. To exercise its parole authority, USCIS must determine that parole into the United States is justified by urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.

USCIS has the authority to impose conditions on the grant of parole, including requiring reasonable assurances that the parolee will appear at all hearings and will depart the United States when required to do so.[2]

In general, if USCIS favorably exercises its discretion to authorize parole for a noncitizen located outside of the United States, then either USCIS or the U.S. Department of State issues a travel document to enable the noncitizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request parole from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP officers make the ultimate determination, upon the noncitizen’s arrival at a U.S. port of entry, whether to parole the noncitizen into the United States and for what length of time. Once a noncitizen is paroled into the United States, the parole allows the noncitizen to stay temporarily in the United States.

Parole is not an admission to the United States.[3] When a noncitizen is paroled into the United States, the noncitizen is still deemed to be an applicant for admission.[4]

Parole terminates automatically upon the expiration of the authorized parole period or upon the parolee’s departure from the United States.[5] Parole also may be terminated upon written notice to the noncitizen if USCIS determines the purpose for which the parole was authorized has been accomplished or if USCIS determines that neither humanitarian reasons nor public benefit warrant the continued presence of the parolee in the United States. When parole is terminated, the noncitizen is “restored to the status that he or she had at the time of parole.”[6]

Generally, a noncitizen who is paroled into the United States is not employment authorized incident to status.[7] Rather, most parolees must apply for and be granted employment authorization before they may work in the United States.[8] The grant of parole is a separate determination from the grant of employment authorization.

C. Legal Authorities [Reserved]


[^ 1] See INA 212(d)(5)(A). USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) all have authority to authorize parole. See Delegation of Authority to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Delegation 7010.3, signed May 11, 2006. See Delegation of Authority to the Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Delegation 7030.2, signed November 13, 2004 (effective March 1, 2003). See Delegation of Authority to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Delegation 0150.1, signed June 5, 2003 (effective March 1, 2003). See Memorandum of Agreement, Coordinating the Concurrent Exercise by USCIS, ICE, and CBP, of the Secretary’s Parole Authority under INA 212(d)(5)(A) with Respect to Certain Aliens Located Outside of the United States, signed September 2008.

[^ 2] See 8 CFR 212.5(d).

[^ 3] See INA 101(a)(13)(B). See INA 212(d)(5)(A). See 8 CFR 1.2 (“An arriving alien remains an arriving alien even if paroled pursuant to section 212(d)(5) of the Act, and even after any such parole is terminated or revoked.”).

[^ 4] See INA 212(d)(5)(A).

[^ 5] See 8 CFR 212.5(e)(1).

[^ 6] See 8 CFR 212.5(e). See Hassan v. Chertoff, 593 F.3d 785, 789 (9th Cir. 2010).

[^ 7] One exception is international entrepreneur parolees under 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(37) who are employment authorized incident to their parole by a specific employer.

[^ 8] Under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(11). See 8 CFR 274a.13.

Current as of November 23, 2021