New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Immigration Amnesty For Liberians And Parole In Place: Unexpected Gifts From NDAA 2020 Bill

Author: New York Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova

President Trump is hard on Immigration issues: under his administration, we have all heard news of family separation, travel ban, and expansion of expedited removal. Yet, on December 20, 2019, he signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, a military spending bill, that contained one of the most generous Immigration amnesties in recent years, even though for only one group of persons: Liberians. It is for a relatively small group of people, but it is a big victory for immigration advocates.

The NDAA 2020 bill allows Liberians (and their spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters) to obtain green cards or permanent residency in the United States if they apply for the relief within one year after the enactment of the NDAA if:

They continuously present in the United States since November 20, 2014! Continuous means that a person has not been absent from the United States one ore more times, that in the aggregate amount to 180 days of absence.

What Grounds of Inadmissibility Are Waived Automatically?

Almost all traditional bars of inadmissibility will be waived: that is a public charge, labor certification, entry without inspection, unlawful presence pursuant to section 7611(b)(2) of NDAA 2020. A person is convicted of an aggravated felony or two or more CMITs will be barred from this amnesty. For many criminal convictions, however, a 212(h) waiver is available. Also, ineligible are persons who have ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Can a person with Order of Removal/Deportation apply?

Yes, under the NDAA 2020 bill, if a person had a final order of removal/deportation, he/she can still apply for the amnesty and his/her removal should have stayed while the application is pending! No separate motion to reopen the case is required!

The best part of the bill is that if a person’s application is granted, he/she will be considered a green card holder from the date of the arrival into the United States.

This is, in fact, the most generous Immigration Amnesty in decades.

Military Parole In Place Law (PIP)

Now, the NDAA 2020 bill contains one more very important provision: it solidifies the availability of parole in place for members of the military personnel. An extremely important provision since there were rumors that PIP will be discounted. Now, we know, it will not! Here is the entire section of the NDAA 2020 dedicated to PIP:

    (a) In General.--In evaluating a request from a covered individual for parole in place under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether granting the request would enable military family unity that would constitute a significant public benefit.
    (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that--
      (1) parole in place reinforces the objective of military family unity;
      (2) except as required in furtherance of the missions of the Armed Forces, disruption to military family unity should be minimized in order to enhance military readiness and allow members of the Armed Forces to focus on the faithful execution of their military missions and objectives, with peace of mind regarding the well-being of their family members; and
      (3) the importance of the parole in place authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security is reaffirmed.
    (c) Covered Individual Defined.--In this section, the term "covered individual" means an alien who--
      (1) is a member of the Armed Forces;
      (2) is the spouse, son, or daughter of a member of the Armed Forces;
      (3) is the parent of a member of the Armed Forces who supports the request of such parent for parole in place; or
      (4) is the widow, widower, parent, son, or daughter of a deceased member of the Armed Forces.

If you have questions regarding eligibility for the above-mentioned reliefs, please call our office to set up a consultation at 917 885 2261 or book it here.

22 December 2019
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