This packet is designed to assist you in supporting the parole request of a detained individual who may be at high risk should they contract COVID-19 while detained for immigration purposes. This does not constitute legal advice.
Instructions for Requesting Parole from ICE
Step 1. Identify the sponsor
Who can be the sponsor?
The sponsor is a person who agrees to take responsibility for the detained individual throughout the process of their immigration case. This person will attest to ICE, in writing, that: (1) they will give you a home to live once you leave detention (2) they will give you financial support (3) they will ensure that you go to your court hearings.
Does the sponsor have to be a relative?
Not necessarily. The rules do not require sponsors to be relatives of people who apply for parole. However, experience shows us that ICE considers it more favorable if the sponsors are familiar. If there is no family member who is willing to be the sponsor, do not give up. Consider other options, such as faith organizations, support for immigrants, or solidarity with compatriots in your country.
Does the sponsor have to be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.?
There is no written rule that requires it. However, experience teaches us that ICE rarely approves parole for someone if their sponsor is not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. So do your best to locate a sponsor that is a citizen or resident. Additionally, ICE may use information provided to them for other purposes. Consult with an immigration attorney if you have further questions.
Step 2. Collaborate with the sponsor to prepare a letter of support
What is the purpose of the support letter?
The letter of support is the opportunity to show ICE that the sponsor will honor promises to give the detained individual a home, support them financially, and make sure that they will go to all their hearings in immigration court until their court case is over.
What does the sponsor’s letter of support have to say?
The sponsor’s letter of support must contain the following elements:
1. Data on sponsor
- full name of sponsor
- physical address of sponsor
- sponsor phone number
- sponsor immigration status (preferably permanent resident or U.S. citizen)
2. The detained individual’s information
- their full name
- their A number
- their country of origin
3. Explanation of how the detained individual and the sponsor know each other
- what relationship do they have (for example, married, parent/child, cousins, friends, or met through a migrant support organization)
- how long they’ve known each other
- anecdotes that show how the sponsor knows the detained individual’s character or how close their relationship is
4. Written commitments of sponsor
- a promise that if the detained individual is released on parole, they will live at the address indicated with the sponsor
- a promise that the sponsor is willing to support the detained individual financially during their immigration case
Step 4. Collect Evidence
You will need documents that prove several things: the detained individual’s identity, that the detained individual is not going to miss any court hearings or appointments with immigration if released, and that the detained individual is not a danger to the community.
There are several documents that can be included to establish the detained individual’s identity. See the list of documents in the section of this guide entitled, “Parole Checklist, Documents that can prove identity.”
Documentation that the detained individual is not a flight risk
These documents will come mainly from the sponsor. In addition to the sponsor’s letter, you will need:
1. Proof of the sponsor’s residential address. Make sure that any document you are going to use contains the name and residential address of your sponsor. Examples:
- phone bill
- utility bill
- mortgage or lease
2. Proof of the sponsor’s immigration status. Examples:
- copy of permanent resident card (green card)
- copy of U.S. passport
Documentation that the detained individual is not a danger to the community.
Do you have a criminal record in your home country?
No: try to get a certification of no criminal record from the government of that country
Yes: include evidence that you served any sentence that was imposed, you were rehabilitated, and / or the accusation was motivated by political reasons connected to your persecution. See the list of documents in the section of this guide entitled, “Parole Checklist, Documents That Can Prove You Are Not a Danger to the Community.”
Step 5. Translate any document that is not in English
For any document that is not in English, include the document in the original language, plus two things:
1. A translation of the document into English
2. A translation certificate
The translation certificate should read as follows:
Step 6. Make a final review of your application
Make sure you have met all the requirements. Use the section of this guide titled, “Parole Checklist,” to verify that you have followed all the steps.
Step 7. Send the document
The detained individual or the sponsor can send the request. Refer to the Appendix for the Pro Se COVID-19 Parole Request Instructions, for information on how to look up the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office the request should be sent to. If mailing the request, be sure to use a mail service that certifies the receipt of the shipment such as UPS, FedEx, or certified mail with the U.S. Post Office. Be sure to make copies of the request and all supporting documents for your records.
Appendix A: Instructions for Completing the Pro Se Covid-19 Parole Request Form
Appendix B: Reports on COVID-19
Order granting preliminary injunction in Fraihat v. ICE
Order granting class certification in Fraihat v. ICE
Relevant excerpts from Dr. Homer Venters's declaration, Sanchez Martinez v. Donahue
Letter from Drs. Allen and Rich to Congress March 20, 2020
Appendix C: Pro Se COVID-19 Parole Checklist
Appendix D: Examples of Supporting Evidence