Large Number of Florida Immigrants May Be Eligible for Green Cards

Last week, a Miami immigration judge released a ruling that made any immigrant released by DHS in Florida without a deportation order eligible to apply for a green card. Specifically, the court ruled that immigrants that were released without deportation orders would be “paroled” as a “matter of law.”

Parole was historically how thousands of Cuban immigrants were able to apply for permanent residency. Cubans detained by DHS at a port of entry were given a Form I-94, or a parole card. This card would allow them to apply for a green card. This policy was ended in January 2017 with the end of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy. However, that policy may not only be revived—it may apply to any immigrants paroled after being detained by DHS.

Who Qualifies Under This New Ruling? 

Unfortunately, the case isn’t guaranteed to apply broadly to every immigrant in the country, or even in the state of Florida. The new ruling is non-binding, meaning it can only be enforced in the handful of cases under consideration. Still, those few cases could open up a pathway to permanent resident status for thousands of people in Florida. 

Judge Timothy Cole has certified the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the BIA considers his ruling for broad application, then the ruling could affect cases nationwide. It’s also possible that President Joe Biden’s attorney general pick, whoever they might be, could certify the case themselves and make it binding for all immigrant agencies. This is incredible news for the nation’s immigrant community.

“This could totally change the game for immigrants, specifically as the new administration settles in,” said Mark Prada, an immigration attorney in Miami. Tens of thousands of immigrants from Cuba alone could be eligible for green cards. This decision could also affect unaccompanied minors who have crossed into the United States and have been detained. 

If you have questions about how this development affects your case, speak with our New Jersey immigration attorney today in a confidential consultation: (800) 909-8129.