Marianas Variety — (Office of the CNMI Congressional Delegate) - U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan issued the following statement Wednesday after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that its existing policy of allowing humanitarian parole to be granted to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens in the Northern Mariana Islands would be continued until the end of 2018. Certain stateless individuals are also covered. Only those currently granted parole, however, may apply to renew their status. The policy was due to expire at the end of this year, putting these Northern Marianas families with non-U.S. citizens at risk of separation.
“In our island culture nothing is more important than family. That is why under commonwealth immigration law the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were allowed to live here in the Northern Mariana Islands, as were certain stateless persons born here but not granted citizenship in the Covenant.
“Because allowing these families to stay together was the commonwealth immigration policy and because it is consistent with our cultural values, I have been an advocate for doing the same under federal law over the last eight years. The policy was put in place in 2011, has been renewed twice before, and this year I have been making the case with USCIS to extend it again.
“I want to thank USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez for his decision…to continue making parole available for another two years.
“To the best of my understanding there are fewer than 1,000 husbands, wives, children, or parents in families affected by this humanitarian parole. These families were facing separation at the end of December. Now, they can stay together.
“As I said two years ago, when Director Rodriguez renewed this policy, I encourage all of our families who have some U.S. and some non-U.S. members to keep working toward obtaining U.S. permanent resident status.
“That advice is more important now than ever. Because, even though this humanitarian parole policy has been continually renewed by the Obama administration, there is no guarantee that parole will continue to be offered in the future.”
More information about who qualifies and how to apply for humanitarian parole is available at the USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-announces-extension-parole-immediate-relatives-us-citizens/.