Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) commended Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan) yesterday for supporting another two-year extension of parole-in-place for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other persons not eligible for visas. Torres reportedly wrote Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen requesting the extension and Demapan introduced a joint resolution.
“I believe this is the first time that a governor or the Legislature has supported the parole-in-place policy in this way,” Sablan said.
Parole was first granted in November 2011 to cover people whom Sablan wanted to provide with a pathway to green cards. He had introduced legislation, H.R. 1466, to do this; and he asked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to allow those people to remain legally in the Marianas while Congress considered the bill. He also made a pitch for parole when meeting with President Obama at the White House on Sept. 23 that year.
The groups covered include the immediate relatives of persons granted lawful permanent resident status under Commonwealth immigration law, the spouses or parents of U.S. citizens, and so-called stateless individuals.
“Unfortunately, people in the Fitial administration worked aggressively to kill H.R. 1466,” Sablan said. “But I was able to convince USCIS to keep the parole-in-place policy alive. They renewed it for two years in 2012, 2014, and 2016, while President Obama was in office.
“Now, the question is: how will the Trump administration handle this discretionary policy?”
Sablan was also successful at getting USCIS to use its discretionary authority to grant humanitarian parole for in-home caregivers in the Marianas. The caregivers were another group that were permitted by Commonwealth immigration law but did not fit into the federal Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker (CW) requirements.
“According to USCIS, there are a little over 3,000 applications for this special parole status. About 1,300 have been approved,” Sablan reports. “But the Trump administration has also already denied over 1,400 requests.
“The Obama administration was more generous in approvals of humanitarian parole.”
During the Obama administration, Sablan typically received a call from the USCIS director on or around Thanksgiving, letting him know that the parole policy would be continued for another two years. (PR)