The memorandum of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals prevents deportations of illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children. Many of them already obtained a 2-year work permit. However, will they be able to travel? Depending on what source they rely on, the answers vary, and it can be very confusing and frustrating.
Applicants hoped that DACA status would allow them to travel abroad and be able to safely re-enter to the US, since the majority of them have never left the country since they were brought here as children. The Memorandum on DACA describes its position on traveling in the instructions to the proposed application form for a travel documents and in the DACA FAQS.
Essentially the advance parole travel document is a promise given by USCIS that a person will be paroled into the United States. Although the guidelines have yet to be finalized, some restrictions are already imposed. Traveling abroad is allowed for “humanitarian, educational and employment” purposes. An example of “humanitarian” reason would be a death of a relative, a wedding, or visiting an ailing relative, etc.
It is up to USCIS’ discretion whether to grant an advance parole travel document based on the circumstances presented by the applicant. Also, humanitarian, educational and employment purposes are not the only justifiable reasons for a DACA recipient to travel abroad. Importantly, USCIS directs to apply for advance parole travel document only when I-821D application is approved.
The DACA initiative seems to be a great beginning for the future immigration reform, encouraging young immigrant to leave the shadow and fear of illegal presence. They finally can embrace a semblance to normal life. We should hope that USCIS will apply its most benign guidelines for advance parole, so the young immigrants will not only be able to work legally, but also to travel abroad.
Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.