Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (en español/Spanish version) - DHS, Jan. 6, 2012.
the Obama Administration’s commitment to family unity and
administrative efficiency, this morning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services posted a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to begin a
regulatory change that would reduce the amount of time that U.S.
citizens are separated from their families while their family members go
through the process of becoming legal residents of the United States.
children and spouses of U.S. citizens who have accrued a certain period
of unlawful presence in the U.S., and have to leave the country in
order to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S., are barred from
returning to their families for as long as 3 or 10 years. They can
receive a waiver to allow them to return to their families before that
period by showing that their U.S. citizen family member would face
extreme hardship as a result of the separation. But under current
procedures, in order to obtain the waiver, these individuals must apply
from outside the United States after they have been found inadmissible
by a Department of State consular officer. This process can be lengthy
and discourages individuals who are currently eligible for this waiver
from applying. To address this problem, the USCIS proposal would allow
eligible immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for and receive
"provisional waivers" of unlawful presence before they leave the United
States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications,
significantly reducing the time U.S. citizens are separated from their
spouses, or children.
only will this proposal further the Administration’s commitment to
family unity, but the change would improve government efficiency by
increasing the predictability and consistency of the application
details regarding the proposed process change will be outlined in the
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, tentatively scheduled to be published
this spring and, which will be open for public comment. While we’re
still in the beginning stages of the rulemaking process, we’ve posted
some initial questions and answers on USCIS.gov to provide additional
information. USCIS has also scheduled a teleconference listening session
on January 10th at 2PM. To RSVP for the teleconference, please visit www.uscis.gov/outreach.
To learn more about the federal rulemaking process, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Rulemaking 101. For more information on our website, see our fact sheet."