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Obama’s waiver rule change will keep families together

President Barack Obama took a small, but important, first step in eliminating the painful separation of American families because of twisted immigration laws.

Right now, the spouse of a U.S. citizen cannot apply for a green card in the United States if he or she originally entered without proper inspection by an immigration officer. To obtain lawful status the immigrant must leave the United States and apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy in their home country. However, this sets up a catch-22 because once the immigrant leaves the United States, he or she is barred from returning for up to

10 years unless he or she is granted a waiver proving the U.S. citizen spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship as a result of a forced and extended separation.

On Jan. 6, the Obama administration proposed changing the rules on how the administration deals with American citizens and their illegal immigrant spouses by allowing families to stay together while the waiver is being processed. The administration hopes to change the rule later this year after taking public comments.

Currently, this waiver, known as an unlawful presence waiver, can take months or even years to process because of bureaucratic backlogs. 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.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the purpose of the change is “to minimize the extent to which bureaucratic delays separate Americans from their families for long periods of time.”

This is exactly what Americans support – the protection of American families and honoring that bond. Although the new rule as proposed isn’t perfect, it’s an important step forward keeping families together and fixing our broken immigration system.

— Judy Flanagan, Phoenix

5 comments

  1. I do not agree with your assessment of this change.
    This new policy will only encourage more illegals to come into
    our country because they know that their spouse would be allowed
    to stay.This is de-facto amnesty for lawbreakers.
    Any change that benefits illegals in our country to have better access to citizenship
    is damaging the rights of legal citizens and prospective citizens.
    These people knew what the rules were when they arrived here.
    This change would be very damaging to those who have waited
    for months and years for citizenship. This is nothing more
    than cloaked amnesty.

  2. “This new policy will only encourage more illegals to come into
    our country because they know that their spouse would be allowed
    to stay.”

    Kathryn kobor you dimwit. The spouses of illegals would be allowed to stay because THEY are not illegals! This proposed change is geared toward only American citizens who is married to an illegal spouse.

    This proposal would grant relief if deporting the spouse would cause him or her “extreme hardship.”

    I think its a fair and balanced approach though illegals don’t come here to marry, but to illegally work and send money home.

  3. I AGREE WITH THIS LAW AND ITS THE BEST THING OBAMA WILL DO.THERE ALOT FAMILY BEING SEPARATE WITH KIDS…I KNOW JUST FOR THIS HE WILL HAVE MY VOTE IN THE NEXT ELECTION

  4. THIS IS GREAT THING OBAMA CAN DO TO KEEP FAMILY TOGETHER

  5. this is the best we are sufring and living in fairfor many years.Thanks Mr obama, iwill vote for you again.

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