Starting June 8, 2016, USCIS will be implementing a new parole program for Filipino World War II Veterans. The parole program will allow family members of certain Filipino WWII veterans, who have approved family-based visa petitions, to receive parole to come to the U.S. while they wait for their visa to become available. As you may know, a visa can sometimes take more than 20 years to become available for Filipino family members, so this is great news for those family members and their spouse and children. It is important to note that the parole is discretionary, and granted only on a case-by-case basis. Further, Customs and Border Patrol will also review such cases and determine whether to parole the individual.
Those who may benefit from the FWVP policy are individuals: (1) who are the beneficiaries of Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, including any accompanying or following-to-join spouse and children, who were approved on or before the filing of the parole request; (2) whose qualifying relationship with the petitioning relative existed on or before May 9, 2016; (3) whose petitioning relative is residing in the United States (or, if deceased, was residing in the United States at the time of death); (4) whose immigrant visas are not authorized for issuance per the Application Final Action Dates chart for family-sponsored preference cases on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin; and (5) whose petitioning relatives have established they are either Filipino World War II veterans or are the surviving spouses of such individuals.
The parole program was implemented as part of the government’s goal toward streamlining the immigration process, and to recognize the contributions of Filipino soldiers during WWII. More than 260,000 Filipinos fought for the U.S. during WWII and about 26,000 of these soldiers became U.S. citizens. Most of these Filipinos have petitioned for their family members in the Philippines, but due to the long wait for a visa, the families have been separated for years. With this parole program, family members may join their aging, veteran family member in the U.S.
Applicants will need to show favorable discretionary factors to obtain parole. Generally, USCIS will look at whether they merit favorable exercise of discretion, and whether that decision would yield significant public benefit. Of course, since most WWI veterans are aging, having their family members come to care for the veteran, this factor should be emphasized. Negative factors, like a criminal record, would override any positive factors that are shown. Speak to an immigration attorney to see if you qualify.