Obama Administration Rule Puts Families First

January 2, 2012

Adela de la Torre, 213-674-2832, [email protected]

New Obama Administration Rule Keeps Families Together

WASHINGTON — Immigrants will be eligible to apply for permanent residency through a U.S. citizen spouse, parent, or child without the fear of prolonged separation from their families, according to a new rule announced today by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The rule, which is scheduled to take effect on March 4, 2013, allows green card–eligible individuals to apply for a provisional waiver while inside the U.S. If found eligible for the waiver, they would then return to their country of birth for final processing without the fear of long periods of separation and the possibility of being barred from returning to the U.S. for up to 10 years, as is currently the case. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“For too long, thousands of immigrants with U.S. citizen family members haven’t applied for permanent residency out of fear of being separated from their families. This new rule puts families first and allows immigrants to apply for permanent residency without having to spend months or years away from their loved ones.

“However, this rule is far from perfect: The new rule currently applies only to family members of U.S. citizens, unnecessarily excluding immigrants whose family members are lawful permanent residents who have made America their home. The hardship these families suffer is no less painful than that of families with citizen family members. This exclusion is unnecessary and should be removed.

“Families applying for this waiver should note that the rule will not go into effect until March 4. It is important for applicants to be very careful about not falling prey to fraud by ‘notarios’ or others who claim that this rule change is immediately available.

“Ultimately, this process should serve as a reminder that our families, communities, and economy desperately need Congress to create an immigration process that allows the 11 million aspiring Americans to apply for citizenship. We urge leaders on both sides of the aisle to address this issue, which Washington has overlooked for far too long.”

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