By Annette Quijada
Central American Resource Center managing attorney Julie Mitchell, brings awareness to the benefits of Advance Parole for individuals under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
For DACA Advance Parole traveling must be related to humanitarianism; seeking medical treatment or attending a family funeral. It can also be an educational reason such as semester-abroad programs, or for employment, for instance, meetings with clients overseas.
Advance Parole does not need to link travel to a specific purpose.
“For certain people there can be a legal benefit to travel on Advance Parole. It can create a legal entry into the country which can help in immigration cases,” Mitchell said.
Other benefits include college students being able to participate in studying abroad as they can not do so traditionally, as well as having the opportunity to connect with family and community they haven’t been a part of in years.
Advance Parole also comes with risks because it is discretionary. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may deny a person’s application and keep the money sent by the applicant, Mitchell said. Re-entry is also not 100% guaranteed, Mitchell said.
“Customs and Border Patrol are tasked with inspecting people entering at ports of entry and they have the final say on whether somebody may enter or re-enter the U.S, even when the individual has an approved document. Over the years (with the people we’ve worked with), we’ve not seen a denial of re-entry, but it does exist,” said Mitchell. She said risks are higher when the individual has a criminal record as well as prior immigration history. Mitchell encourages people to speak to an attorney first to assure that Advance Parole is right for them.
Deisy Kim, a legal assistant at the Central American Resource Center, shared her positive experience with Advance Parole. She said one of her fears was going through immigration coming back home. “I remember the process being a lot less scary than I thought it would be. The officers were very casual. I was really afraid because of re-entry being discretionary and you have worst case scenarios in your thoughts, but it happens rarely. And you just have to make sure your legal representative screens you well to make sure the possibility of being denied re-entry is really low,” said Kim. Once Kim came back and had her legal entry her fiance was able to petition for her and adjust her status in the U.S.
Mitchell also mentioned that CARECEN holds educational exchange trips to benefit DACA and TPS individuals.
For three years Advance Parole was not available to people with DACA. Due to this CARECEN stopped doing trips, but now they’re looking to start trips up again. They have no official dates at this time, Mitchell said.
For other ways to find advance parole opportunities Mitchell encourages study abroad, but people should be wary of application processing times. Look for Advance Parole specific trips often organized by schools, or be creative such as doing overseas volunteer work.
CARECEN offers general immigration consultations, DACA renewals and initial applications, family petitions and U-Visas.
CARECEN also provides free immigration legal services to students, staff, and faculty of California State Universities and community colleges. To schedule a consultation/appointment log into https://carecenla.simplybook.me/v2/.