USCIS announced that, effective immediately, it is terminating yet another humanitarian parole program. This one is for individuals living in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This move will affect, among others:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens;
  • Certain “stateless” individuals;
  • Immediate relatives of CNMI permanent residents; and
  • Certain in-home foreign worker caregivers of CNMI residents.

This is how the transition will take place:

  • Upon expiration of authorization, USCIS will not renew any CNMI parole.
  • However, to ensure an orderly wind-down, there will be a 180-day transitional period and extension of employment authorization, where applicable, but in no event will parole extend beyond June 29, 2019.
  • Current parolees with requests for extensions of status and work authorization pending will receive letters granting 180 days of transitional parole. These letters will serve as evidence of work authorization.

CNMI, with about 50,000 inhabitants, is a 14-island archipelago in the Pacific, north of Guam, and over 3,000 miles from Honolulu. At the conclusion of World War II, the U.S., pursuant to a U.N. Security Council Resolution, administered the area, which had been under Japanese rule, as a trusteeship. In 1977, the Islands obtained U.S. commonwealth status. In 1986, Article III citizenship was extended to certain residents of CNMI. Then in 2008, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA) began extending most U.S. immigration law to CNMI. In 2009, the U.S. began granting humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis to CNMI inhabitants who found themselves ineligible for other U.S. statuses. This group included spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens. In 2011, the current parole program was instituted.

Other recent attempts by the Administration to eliminate humanitarian parole programs, such as DACA and TPS, have been held up by litigation.

Despite the termination of CNMI parole, foreign nationals in H-1B and H-2B nonimmigrant classifications who are admitted to perform labor and services in CNMI (and Guam) will continue to be exempt from the H-1B and H-2B caps.

Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.