Big news today! A new waiver process (for the 3- and 10-year bars) should help keep thousands of undocumented immigrants from being separated from their families in the U.S. From the Associated Press:
(AP) WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans a rule change to help reduce the time illegal immigrant spouses and children are separated from citizen relatives while they try to win legal status in the United States, a senior administration official said.
Currently, illegal immigrants must leave the country before they can ask the government to waive a three- to 10-year ban on legally coming back to the U.S. The length of the ban depends on how long they have lived in the U.S. without permission.
The official said Thursday the new rule would let children and spouses of citizens ask the government to decide on the waiver request before the illegal immigrant heads to his or her home country to apply for a visa. The illegal immigrants still must go home to finish the visa process to come back to the U.S., but getting the waiver ahead of time could reduce the time an illegal immigrant is out of the country.
The waiver shift is the latest move by President Barack Obama to make changes to immigration policy without congressional action.