09 January 2012


Would Allow Such Waiver Applications to be Filed and Adjudicated in the United States Prior to the Aliens Departing, Rather than at The U.S. Consulates Abroad After the Aliens Depart the U.S.A.

Based upon a claim of wanting to more quickly reunite Americans with their illegal immigrant spouses and children, The Obama administration has proposed a Rule that would shorten the time that certain illegal aliens must spend apart from their families int he United States. 

Currently, many illegal immigrants must leave the country before they can ask the federal government to waive the three and 10-year bars against legally coming back to the U.S. The length of the ban depends on how long they have been unlawfully present in the United States. 

Last week the Obama administration proposed changing the rule to let children and spouses ask the government to decide on the waiver request before they leave the United States for their home countries to seek a visa and waiver to return here legally. 

Those illegal immigrants would still have to go abroad to finish the visa process, but getting a provisional waiver approved in advance would reduce the time they are out of the country from months or a year or more, to days or weeks, said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The purpose of the proposed rule is “to minimize the extent to which bureaucratic delays separate Americans from their families for long periods of time,” Mayorkas told reporters. Mayorkas went on to say that it currently takes about six months for the government to adjudicate.

The proposal also comes as Obama gears up for a re-election contest in which the support of Hispanic voters could prove a determining factor in a number of states. The administration hopes to change the rule later this year after taking public comments.

Immigrants who do not have criminal records and who have only violated immigration laws can win a waiver if they can prove their absence would cause an extreme hardship for their American spouse or parent. The government received about 23,000 hardship applications in 2011 and more than 70 percent were approved.

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