November 9, 2014
USCIS has extended parole for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and certain "stateless" individuals until December 31, 2016.
Foreign relatives with minor U.S. children and others are welcoming the news.
Many of the foreigners who qualify for parole have lived in the CNMI for decades, previously as foreign contract workers under the former CNMI immigration program. Those with U.S. citizen children in public schools are relieved that they will not have to uproot their children to return to their homelands where there are no job prospects and less educational opportunities for their children.
From the Saipan Tribune:
Villafuerte, who hails from Cavite, Philippines, said she just wants to continue to bring up her 8-year-old U.S. citizen daughter on Saipan, an island that has been good to her since she came here in 1992.
The single mother said she couldn’t imagine being deported back to the Philippines where her daughter will be bereft of government support like Medicaid and free education through the Public School System.
Villafuerte, who currently works as a house worker, she has little to no chance of landing a job in her native country because on Saipan “as long as you’re a hard worker, employers don’t discriminate due to age,” she said in her native Tagalog.EC-2 Visa Program Could end January 1, 2015
Meanwhile nonresident investors in the CNMI are anxious to learn if the non-functioning U.S. Congress can get their act together long enough to pass legislation that would extend the EC-2 Visa Program until 2019. The program is set to expire on January 1, 2015.
They came from China, the Philippines, Korea and other Asian countries, years and even decades ago, to invest in small businesses in the CNMI. They opened upholstery shops, auto repair shops, beauty parlors, laundries, tailors, groceries and other small to medium-sized businesses. They have paid taxes, employed thousands, and boosted the CNMI economy.
Without an extension of the program, over 250 CNMI nonresident business owners and their family members will be out of status within two months. The majority of these people left their homelands decades ago to start a new life in the CNMI, many investing their life's savings.
The nonresident business owners who were lured to the CNMI, made the islands their home and contributed so much for years and decades do not qualify for green cards even though some of them estimate that over the years they have invested even more than $500,000 in the CNMI. The foreign investors would have to be a new business investing $500,000 to qualify under the EB-5 Program.
Unless a bill that would extend the EC-2 Visa program passes and is signed into law or the CNMI's legal, long term nonresident business owners are granted permanent residency by January 1, 2015, hundreds of small businesses would close. Many will be left jobless sending shock waves through the CNMI economy.
The years of contributions to the CNMI have certainly earned the legal, long term nonresidents – contract workers or business owners– permanent residency status. Extensions are like band aids, but granting them permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship will ensure a stable economy and remove the uncertainty.
The CNMI's exemption from U.S. asylum laws and the exemption from the H Visa caps are also set to expire on January 1, 2015.
The USCIS press release concerning extension of parole: