New Proposal Will Help Illegal Relatives of U.S. Citizens

Obama administration officials announced that they are proposing a fix to a Catch-22 in immigration law that could spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from illegal immigrant spouses and children.

Under current procedures, some illegal spouses of United States citizens (USCs) must return to their home countries and file for a I-601 waiver application in order to obtain permanent residency.  Approval of the waiver is not guaranteed, and the process itself often requires the relative to remain in their home country for many years.  If the waiver is ultimately denied, they could be stuck in their home country for up to 10 years.

The President’s proposal will allow illegal relatives of USC’s to file the I-601 waiver application in the United States instead of having to return to their home country first.  Therefore, families can be stay together while the waiver application being processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).  If the waiver is ultimately denied, then the illegal relative would not be subject to a 10 year bar by having left the United States.

This new proposal is bound to generate controversy in some political circles.  However, it is welcome news for thousands of illegal spouses and children of USCs.  The proposal itself is not expected to take effect until later this year.  Stay tuned to for further updates.