June 16, 2016

Due to the lack of a uniform U visa parole policy,
eligible victims subject to the U visa cap often remain
abroad, despite clear Congressional intent they be
afforded entry and an express regulatory obligation to be
paroled into the United States while awaiting an
available visa. U petitioners granted deferred action
suffer because their family members residing abroad are
subject to lengthy waits to reunite in the United States.
Regrettably, this vulnerable group of petitioners and their
qualifying family members have not received the full
protection of the law. U visas – available to individuals
who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse
as a result of a qualifying crime and who meet certain
other criteria – are capped at 10,000 per fiscal year.
Because that cap has been reached each year since 2009,
eligible U petitioners are placed on a waiting list. The
disparity between those living in the United States and
those residing abroad is stark – while on the waiting list,
U petitioners and derivative family members in the
United States systematically receive deferred action and
employment authorization. However, those in the same
situation who reside abroad must proactively apply for
parole through USCIS’ Humanitarian Affairs Branch.
Although some victims are able to obtain humanitarian
parole and safely travel to the United States, USCIS has
yet to put in place a streamlined and efficient parole
process – clearly provided for under governing law.
The Ombudsman’s Office outlined what a parole policy
for U visa recipients on the waiting list might look like in
the 2015 Annual Report to Congress. After receiving a
draft of this Recommendation in March 2016, USCIS
announced it is planning to implement a parole policy for
this vulnerable population. I am happy to have
anticipated that decision and encourage the agency to act
without delay. I hope this Recommendation – the result
of numerous conversations with stakeholders and USCIS
officials and an in-depth analysis of the law and
operational realities – provides a helpful framework as
the agency plans to fulfill the promise of protection
underlying the U visa program.

Maria Odom
Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

Read Full Text of Recommendation!


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Shah Peerally is an attorney licensed in California practicing immigration law and debt settlement. He has featured as an expert legal analyst for many TV networks such as NDTV, Times Now and Sitarree TV. Articles about Shah Peerally and his work have appeared on newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, US Fiji Times, Mauritius Le Quotidien, Movers & Shakers and other prominent international newspapers. His work has been commended by Congress women Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee. He has a weekly radio show on KLOK 1170AM and frequently participates in legal clinics in churches, temples and mosques. His law group, Shah Peerally Law Group, has represented clients all over the United States constantly dealing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Custom Enforcement(ICE) and CBP (Customs Border Patrol (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This department was formerly known as the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS).