Recently, a junior at Harvard University who was forced to remain in Mexico for the past several months learned that he will be allowed to return to the United States even though he broke an immigration rule.
Mr. Dario Guerrero Meneses, an undocumented foreign national, traveled to Mexico without first settling his immigration status in the United States. Mr. Meneses could not wait to obtain U.S. permission to cross the border into Mexico because his mother, who was dying of cancer and recently passed away, needed his help to take her to Mexican health clinics that could provide her with alternative cancer treatments.
Why the U.S. Initially Barred Mr. Meneses from Returning
Mr. Meneses is a member of the “Dreamer” population, meaning he is one of the estimated hundreds of thousands of young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. As a Dreamer, Mr. Menese was eligible for and did in fact receive deferred action from the Obama Administration. However, he did not receive travel authorization as part of his deferred action.
But the lack of travel authorization was not for lack of trying. According to Mr. Menese, he applied for travel authorization by promptly utilizing the established USCIS procedures. He waited a month and a half before submitting two expedite requests. When these requests remained unanswered, he made the difficult decision to depart the U.S. without authorization in order to care for his mother.
Therefore, when Mr. Meneses departed the U.S. to take his mother to Mexico, USCIS decided that he had effectively completed his own deportation proceedings because he was previously in the U.S. without status and then left the country without advance permission.
After his mother passed away in August, USCIS denied Mr. Meneses’ attempts to come back to the U.S. and return to his family in California.
Why did the U.S. Change its Mind?
Most likely due to the sympathetic circumstances in Mr. Meneses’ case, along with the fact that he is an excellent student at the prestigious Harvard University, the Associated Press reported on his story earlier this month. Merely hours after the AP story was published, USCIS informed Mr. Meneses, through his immigration attorney, that the agency had granted him humanitarian parole that would allow him to return to the United States and resume his studies at Harvard. It is possible that USCIS felt pressured to rectify its decision in Mr. Meneses’ case, due to political or public opinion that resulted from the press coverage.
The immigration remedy of humanitarian parole is only temporary. For Mr. Meneses, it means that he is authorized to stay in the U.S. for an initial period of two years. However, the humanitarian parole does not grant him permanent residency nor will it lead to U.S. citizenship.
While it is very good news that USCIS granted humanitarian parole to Mr. Meneses, it is doubtful that the agency would have done so if his case had not been covered by the media. Continue to check with our blog for the most up to date immigration news.
Additional Blog Posts
Democrats Propose New Immigration Reform, ImmigRantings, July 20, 2011
Congress Asks DHS to Grant Temporary Protected Status to Filipinos, ImmigRantings, December 5, 2013