I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about advance parole and the latest update, so here it is:
There have been reports from colleagues that USCIS is accepting new Advance Parole applications, however before a DACA grantee decides to apply, I think they should be aware of the current situation and my concerns about advance parole.
First, if you already have DACA, there is no risk in applying for advanced parole. Ultimately, it’s payment of filing fees and attorney’s fees plus the time and effort an applicant needs to invest in collecting documents and going through the process. The risk of fees isn’t a huge deal– it’s ultimately just money.
My primary concern is what happens if the administration tries to eliminate DACA while a DACA grantee is outside the country? Would they be stuck? The Supreme Court decision on DACA didn’t say that the president could not eliminate DACA, what they said is that they did it the wrong way and basically outlined for the administration what they would have to do to properly eliminate DACA. Since the decision was issued, Trump has said that he still plans to eliminate DACA. Trump has also said he wants to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Ultimately, I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t know what he will actually do or when he will do it. There are some steps we can take to minimize the risks (i.e. a short trip over the weekend when historically the administration hasn’t been making big announcements?) but there’s no way to eliminate this risk.
For some, there may be some really strong strategic reasons to travel on advance parole or really strong personal reasons to travel. These may be risks worth taking for some, but ultimately it is an individual and personal decision. At a minimum, you’re risking the fees, but a DACA grantee is also risking being stuck outside the country.
For those who decide to go forward with applying for advance parole, I encourage you to re-evaluate whether it still makes sense to travel several times taking into account the current political/immigration climate–at least reevaluate when it gets granted/before booking travel; then again before departure. Ideally, these assessments should be made in collaboration with an immigration attorney who is keeping abreast of all the latest developments (and tweets!).