Skip to main content

The "Obama Amnesty" -- Too Good to Be True


As reported extensively over the last two weeks, and in a way that was grossly misunderstood by the average person, the Obama administration plans to issue a regulation that would address a long-standing problem in immigration law—a Catch 22 created by requiring the spouses and children of U.S. citizens who entered the country unlawfully to depart the U.S. before completing the processing of their application for lawful permanent residence. The trouble is that once they leave the country, they are subject to a three or ten year bar for unlawful presence and need a waiver to get back into the US earlier than the 3 or 10 year bar would allow.  The new proposal would allow them to submit the waiver application to the USCIS in the United States and receive a decision before departing the U.S., thus reducing the time, anxiety, and sometime danger inherent in waiting abroad for a decision.
This Catch-22 is one of the most notorious problems in the immigration system and the regulatory change is long-overdue. Due to processing backlogs, uncertainty of outcomes and violence in cities with key U.S. consulates—such as in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico—the prospect of becoming a lawful permanent resident has become an uncertain and frustrating affair for some applicants. Recognizing this problem, which arises in part from regulation, is an example of USCIS acting responsibly to address a problem of its own regulatory making in an expedient and lawful way.
The too good to be true part is that there is no change in the law yet, and we have not yet seen the actual wording of the proposed change.  The truth is this rule change will not open the doors for more immigrants, or provide relief for the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country without the necessary family and work relationships to obtain status. Therefore, calling it “amnesty” is nothing short of a lie.  No one who was not already eligible for a waiver is now eligible.  This proposed rule will not affect anyone new.  
The other too good to be true part is that we can not expect this change to take affect before the end of the year. The Rulemaking Process is SLOW. Even if we get a proposed rule issued in the Spring (a big "if"), given the required comment period, and intense desire of USCIS's "culture of no" employees to slow down any real change that benefits immigrants, there is no conceivable way the change will happen before the election. And, if Obama loses in November, that will halt all pending changes in their tracks, and we will never see this common sense change take place.  
What should you do?  Do what you were doing.  Do not make any changes in how you might have currently been processing for a waiver.  Live your life.  And, talk to an attorney if you are married to a US Citizen or permanent resident, or have Citizen or permanent resident parents.  Perhaps you did not know that you already qualify for a waiver.  

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…
Si usted es inmigrante (incluso un ciudadano de los EE.UU.), aquí hay 9 cosas que usted debe saber.

¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado, residente legal permanente, titular de una visa o inmigrante indocumentado? Le recomendamos que tome los siguientes pasos para protegerse de nuestra versión actual de América.
Las últimas semanas hemos recordado a los inmigrantes, incluso a los ciudadanos estadounidenses naturalizados, que no nacieron en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra oficina ha recibido innumerables llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de correo electrónico y mensajes de medios sociales de personas preocupadas por el futuro de su familia en los Estados Unidos.
La mayoría de gente quiere saber qué puede hacer ahora para protegerse de lo que promete ser una ola de actividad anti-inmigración por parte del gobierno federal. La orden ejecutiva de Trump sobre la aplicación de la ley interior tiene algunas disposiciones que deberían hacer temblar a la mayoría de los estadounidenses. …