Today the Administration will announce a proposed rule change that will save countless American families from the trauma of separation and, at the same time, make America safer. The proposed rule change is outlined in this morning’s New York Times.
Under the twisted immigration law the husband or wife of a US citizen is barred from applying for a green card in the US if they originally entered without proper inspection by an immigration officer. To obtain lawful status the immigrant must leave the US and apply for a visa at a US embassy in their home country. But once they leave the US they are barred from returning for up to 10 years unless they can prove their US citizen or legal resident spouse will suffer extreme hardship in their absence. But the process–known as an “unlawful presence waiver”–can take months, even years. In the meantime the family is separated, the foreign spouse may be stuck in a dangerous place–like Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where many immigrants have lost their lives–and there is no way of predicting if or when the family will ever be reunited.
The proposed rule change is huge because it will allow undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional waiver while in the U.S.–something not permitted under the current rule. If the waiver is granted, the foreign national will then leave the U.S., apply for his or her immigrant visa abroad, and return to his or her loved ones. The change will give countless American families a chance to stay together safely and legally.
The move is also smart enforcement because it will reduce the illegal immigrant population and allow the Department of Homeland Security to better focus its resources on keeping America secure and safe.