Nearly 3,000 illegal immigrants granted executive amnesty have been approved for adjustment of status after receiving advance parole, allowing them to be placed on a path to lawful permanent residency and eventual citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has revealed.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — obtained by the Federation for American Immigration Reform — USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez details that of the 713,300 illegal immigrants granted executive amnesty via the Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program through last year, 22,340 were approved for advance parole. Of those granted advanced parole, 5,068 have also applied for adjustment of status, and so far 2,994 have been approved for adjustment.
Rodriguez’s letter, dated June 29, was in response to a Grassley and Lee Department of Homeland Security oversight request, probing DHS on what they termed “abuses of the advance parole program as applied to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program.”
“A grant of advanced parole to DACA recipients does indeed open the door to undocumented immigrants to gain U.S. citizenship,” the senators’ letter to DHS, dated March 2, read.
While normally parole is an immigration benefit selectively offered to largely inadmissible aliens for only “urgent humanitarian reasons” or in cases of “significant public benefit,” the Obama Administration has been allowing DACA recipients to seek advance parole — allowing re-entry to the U.S. after traveling abroad — for “educational purposes, employment purposes, or humanitarian purposes.”
“A DACA recipient granted advance parole to participate in a semester abroad program, for example, is paroled into the United States upon return and is thereby made eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status if they otherwise qualify for one of the existing immigrant visa categories. After five years as a permanent resident, a person may apply for U.S. citizenship,” the senators wrote in March.
The mere presence of this immigration gimmick, as the senators highlighted, appears to stand in direct contradiction to Obama’s assertion that DACA would not be a path to citizenship.
“Now let us be clear. This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship,” Obama said, announcing the DACA program in the Rose Garden in June of 2012.
In his letter to Grassley and Lee, however, Rodriguez denied that the DACA program and advance parole program amounts to a “path to citizenship,” writing, “Only individuals who qualify to be classified as an immigrant under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) are eligible for lawful permanent residence. The most common basis for such an immigrant classification is a specified family relationship or employment qualification.”