In recent weeks, the Obama Administration has announced two major initiatives designed to assist individuals and families while at the same time stopping short of an immigrant amnesty.
The first, prosecutorial discretion, reflects a common-sense decision to target US Government resources to go after those considered truly bad actors – namely criminal offenders, individuals who defy court orders, etc. Those individuals whose only transgression was coming to the US to achieve the American Dream may see their cases deferred, delayed, or administratively closed in the coming months. There are many questions to be answered on this new policy, and DHS, DOJ, and immigrant experts are meeting to find answers to them.
The second initiative involves waivers of inadmissibility for the spouses of US citizens and permanent residents. Under current law, foreign born spouses barred from the US are eligible for a Green Card if the marriage is genuine AND the US citizen or permanent resident can show that he or she would suffer extreme hardship if the foreign spouse could not immigrate to the US. The waiver application can now be filed in the US before the person must leave the country for their Consulate interview. Since there is a two year wait for DHS to complete work on the waiver application, this means that families no longer have to spend years away from one another while a foreign spouse awaits an answer on the waiver.
It is good to see the Obama Administration taking positive measures to help our immigrant communities.