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By David Sperling, Esq.

With the new administration taking power, there is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about President Trump’s immigration policies.

But there is one thing that some immigrants can and should do immediately, if they have not done so already. I am talking about the more than 700,000 “Dreamers” who have a work permit through DACA, and hundreds of thousands of TPS registrants from Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

President Trump opposes the DACA program, in part because it was initiated by executive fiat, and not through Congress, but it is likely the government will continue to honor existing work permits.

While the administration policy is in flux, now is the time to travel outside the United States with “Advance Parole.” With this government-issued travel document, DACA or TPS beneficiaries can re-enter the United States with a lawful entry, opening the door to Legal Permanent Resident status if they have spouses or adult children who are U.S. Citizens.

For example, a DACA beneficiary who entered the United States illegally is now engaged or married to a U.S. Citizen spouse. With a lawful entry, they can then apply directly for a Green Card without the need to return to their home countries for consular processing. TPS registrants who are married to U.S. Citizens or have adult (over 21) children born here are also eligible.

Since TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua went into effect in 1999, and TPS for Salvadoran started in 2001, many of these class members are now potentially eligible to adjust status after re-entering the United States with a travel document.

This strategy is available for DACA and TPS beneficiaries who do not have a deportation order. Immigration will not knowingly approve an Advance Parole if they know a DACA or TPS beneficiary has a previous deportation order.

Generally speaking, it can take three months or longer for Immigration to approve a travel document. However, in cases of emergency, for example, to care for a parent who is gravely ill, an applicant with appropriate proofs can obtain a travel document in one day. The government fee is $575.

Anyone considering this strategy should first consult with an immigration lawyer because of the serious legal consequences of leaving and re-entering the United States. However, because of near-certainty that President Trump will terminate the DACA program, the time to travel is now.


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