Thank you so much. It is the I-94 that indicates his status. Please list him as paroled.
Now having said that. The USCIS has been known to error out of ignorance of the law.
For example: I once sent a request for a re-entry permit on form I-131, filled out correctly. it was returned without action indicating that the client was a permanent resident and did not need advanced parole. Well, they were correct, but that was not waht I had applied for. The screening agent was wrong.
I have received requestts for additional evidence to get a foreign diploma from the United Kingdom translated into English.....of course, the diplomas of the United Kingdom are English.
And so it goes.
You have already noted that you received conflicting information from the USCIS and other immigration persons.
So, it may come to pass that they will turn it back asking for a different designation. So be it, simply indicate a new category and resubmit.
By law, the I-94 is the official document that authorizes someone to be in the U.S. in that status.
By law the only persons who can be parolled into the U.S. without having an advanced parole, are haitians and cubans.
The law states that cubans and haitians who are admitted or paroled are eligible to apply for work permits upon entry, and in fact are authorized to apply for them at the port of entry.
hence, you should use the parolee status.
When you submit teh petition, you will be including a copy of his I-94 and his biographic page from his passport. They will most likely use the I-94 as well.