Humanitarian programs and types of protection for individuals

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Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer  questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.

By Michael Phulwani
Introduction:

US citizenship and Immigra-tion Services (USCIS) provides a number of humanitarian programs and types of protection for individuals in need of shelter and/or aid from disasters, oppression, emergency medical issues and other urgent conditions. Humanitarian parole is one such program.

Humanitarian parole enables an otherwise inadmissible individual to enter the US temporarily due to a compelling emergency. USCIS may grant humanitarian parole based on urgent, compelling reasons, or to promote a significant public benefit. This parole does not confer any permanent immigration status, but does enable a recipient to apply for and receive employment authorization.

Humanitarian parole is typically granted for the duration of the emergency or compelling situation at issue. Anyone granted humanitarian parole must depart the US prior to its expiration date or risk being placed in removal proceedings. An individual paroled into the United States, however, may request that a period of humanitarian parole be extended.

Anyone can file an application for humanitarian parole, including the prospective parolee, a sponsoring relative, an attorney, or any other interested individual or organization. Requests for humanitarian parole may only be accepted for individuals, who are outside the US; unless such request pertains to a re-parole of a prior humanitarian parole granted at USCIS headquarters in Washington, DC.

Questions & Answers

Q. Where can I find the law about humanitarian parole?
A. The legal foundation for humanitarian parole comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the INA states USCIS has discretion to parole an individual into the US temporarily under certain conditions for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Where do I file a request for humanitarian parole?
A. You file a request for humanitarian parole using Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, to:
Department of Homeland Security, USCIS
Attn: Chief, Humanitarian Affairs Branch
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 3300
Washington, DC 20529-2100

Q. How long does it take to adjudicate an application?
A. Humanitarian parole applications are generally adjudicated within 90-120 business days from the time USCIS receives the application.
Q. How can I find out the status of my application?
A. To check the status of  your application, contact  the Chief of the Humanitarian Affairs Branch at the above address. Please provide specific information about your application, such as  the case   number of the humanitarian parole  application, the name, and date of birth of the petitioner, the date of application, and a brief  explanation  of the reasons for seeking parole.

Q. Can USCIS adjudicate humanitarian parole applications for individuals currently in the United States?
A. Requests for humanitarian parole can only be accepted for individuals, who are currently outside the US However, where USCIS Headquarters has already granted parole for humanitarian reasons, an individual in the US may file a request to for re-parole.

Q. How will I be notified if my request is approved?
A. If you are the applicant, you will receive a written notice when your application has been adjudicated.

Q. For what period of time will I be granted humanitarian parole?
A. Humanitarian parole is typically granted for the duration of the emergency or compelling situation at issue. It is seldom granted for longer than one year.

Q. What can I do if my case is not approved?
A. The denial of a request for humanitarian parole is a discretionary determination based upon a complete review of all of the circumstances described in the documents submitted in each case. The law does not provide for appeal of a denial. However, if there are significant new facts that are relevant to your  application for humanitarian parole, you may submit a new Form I-131 to the address above with a new fee and supporting documentation.

Guidelines
A Humanitarian Parole application package should contain ALL of the following:

Original Form I-131, Application for Travel Document

Original Form I-134, Affidavit of Support

Filing fee

Detailed explanation of the reasons why you are applying for Humanitarian Parole and the length of time for which you need Humanitarian Parole (the maximum time is usually limited to one year)

Detailed explanation of why you cannot obtain a US nonimmigrant visa from the Department of State including:

when and where you attempted to obtain visas,

if you were denied, send a copy of the denial letter given to you

Detailed explanation of the reasons why you cannot obtain any required waiver of inadmissibility (if applicable) and a copy of the denial letter if you received one

Copies of any previously approved immigrant petitions (Forms I-130, I-140, I-360)

Copies of supporting documents (tax returns, doctor’s letters, etc) can also be referred to as evidence.

Important Notes: Medical parole: If you need humanitarian parole for medical reasons, you must submit an explanation from a medical doctor stating the diagnosis, prognosis, the reasons why you cannot obtain treatment in your home country or in a neighboring country, how long the treatment is expected to last, how the treatment will be paid for, and the overall, estimated cost of the treatment.
Note: An immigration seminar by Attorney Michael Phulwani will be held on July 25, 2010 at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Michael Phulwani will also be available for personal consultations on July 25 and July 26 in Illinois. For appointments, please contact our New Jersey office.

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