The Department of Homeland Security defines a parolee as:
” an alien, appearing to be inadmissible to the inspecting officer, allowed into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or when that alien’s entry is determined to be for significant public benefit. Parole does not constitute a formal admission to the United States and confers temporary status only, requiring parolees to leave when the conditions supporting their parole cease to exist. ”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are actually six ways a person can become a parolee.
Deferred Inspection: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; may be conferred by an immigration inspector when aliens appear at a port of entry with documentation, but after preliminary examination, some question remains about their admissibility which can best be answered at their point of destination.
Advance parole: authorized at an DHS District office in advance of alien’s arrival; may be issued to aliens residing in the United States in other than lawful permanent resident status who have an unexpected need to travel and return, and whose conditions of stay do not otherwise allow for readmission to the United States if they depart.
Port-of-entry parole: authorized at the port upon alien’s arrival; applies to a wide variety of situations and is used at the discretion of the supervisory immigration inspector, usually to allow short periods of entry. Examples include allowing aliens who could not be issued the necessary documentation within the required time period, or who were otherwise inadmissible, to attend a funeral and permitting the entry of emergency workers, such as fire fighters, to assist with an emergency.
Humanitarian parole: authorized at DHS headquarters for “urgent humanitarian reasons” specified in the law. It is used in cases of medical emergency and comparable situations
Public interest parole: authorized at DHS headquarters for “significant public benefit” specified in the law. It is generally used for aliens who enter to take part in legal proceedings
Overseas parole: authorized at an DHS District or sub-office while the alien is still overseas; designed to constitute long-term admission to the United States. In recent years, most of the aliens the DHS has processed through overseas parole have arrived under special legislation or international migration agreements.