University of Chicago Legal Forum


The humanitarian parole provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act grants the Attorney General discretion to allow people to enter the United States without an immigrant or non-immigrant visa. Despite the sparse language of the provision establishing parole, it has been used in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from one-time grants of entry into the United States for medical care to the establishment of large-scale programs for entire groups of people. The creation and administration of large-scale parole programs have been the focus of recent lawsuits, placing critical questions on the meaning and scope of the provision before judges. This Comment aims to provide a historical overview of humanitarian parole and evaluate controversies and lawsuits challenging large-scale parole programs. Ultimately, it argues that large-scale parole programs play a crucial role in our immigration system, and their creation is a legitimate, legal use of the provision. It ends by making a recommendation on how to amend the parole statute to formally authorize large-scale programs.

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