The Obama Administration announced today January 6th that it would pass legislation facilitating a path to a Green Card for some illegal immigrants.
This change that Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration is offering would benefit United States citizens who are married to or have children who are illegal immigrants. It would correct the hardships that many Americans now confront when their spouses or children apply to become legal permanent residents.
This proposal will make a great difference for countless Americans. Thousands will no longer be separated from family members and the proposal will encourage Americans to come forward to apply to bring illegal immigrant family members into the legal system.
Illegal immigrants who are married to or are children of American citizens are generally allowed under the law to become legal residents with a visa known as a green card. But the law requires most immigrants who are here illegally to return to their home countries in order to receive their legal visas.
The catch is that once the immigrants leave the United States, they are automatically barred from returning to this country for at least three years, and often for a decade, even if they are fully eligible to become legal residents.
The immigration agency can provide a waiver from those tough measures, if the immigrants can show that their absence would cause “extreme hardship” to a United States citizen. But until now, obtaining the waiver was almost impossible.
Immigrants had to leave the United States and return to their countries of birth to wait for at least three months and sometimes much longer while the waiver was approved. And sometimes the waivers were not approved, and the immigrants were permanently stranded, separated from their American families.
Now, Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes to allow the immigrants to obtain a provisional waiver in the United States, before they leave for their countries to pick up their visas. Having the waiver in hand will allow them to depart knowing that they will almost certainly be able to return, officials said. The agency is also seeking to sharply streamline the process to cut down the wait times for visas to a few weeks at most.
On Friday, the agency will publish a formal notice in the Federal Register that it is preparing a new regulation governing the waivers. But agency officials, speaking on condition of anonymity on Thursday before the proposal was formally announced, stressed that this was only the beginning of a long regulatory process that they hoped to complete by issuing a new rule before the end of this year.
The change on how and where these waivers are designed to ease the burdens on American and immigrant families stemming from a broken immigration system.
Source of Article: New York Times "Easier Route to Green Card to be Proposed for Some" by Julia Preston