Tweak in Rule to Ease a Path to Green Card

Obama administration officials are proposing to correct a bureaucratic Catch-22 that separated families for as long as a decade.

Comments: 74

  1. And just what happens if a waiver is denied? Will the illegal alien be deported? Or has this Administration mandated that anyone who applies for a wavier will automatically be granted one?

  2. The steps are designed to ease the burdens on American and immigrant families stemming from dysfunctional or outmoded immigration statutes.
    ------------
    No, the "burdens" on American families come because an American decides to marry someone who is breaking the law, or someone who is here illegally chooses to have children here, knowing he or she is deportable. Why should a relationship to a U.S. citizen absolve someone from the consequences of breaking the law? As it is, the law requires a showing of "extreme hardship" to an American citizen in order to get a waiver. Does the Obama Administration plan to "dumb" that requirement down? Can they, since it's a statutory requirement?

  3. We are invaded by the needy of the universe. NO more visas, no more immigrants for at least ten years. Perhaps by that time we will deside what is good for America. Impeach 'open borders' Obama. Secure our borders. Enforce E-VERIFY! God Bless America,my birthplace, my Native Land! WWll Vet

  4. And deport more Americans to Columbia! Woo HOO!

  5. All of the people immigrating by virtue of this law would need to show they are not going to be public charges. The US citizen has to file an affidavit of support showing sufficient means to support everyone in the household, including the immigrant for whom they are petitioning, above the poverty level. The immigrant cannot come in and file for welfare under the terms of the affidavit or the USC can be sued to collect. If the petiitoner does not have sufficient means, the person is denied unless a third party is willing to take on the financial responsibility. This group is not the group you are worried about. Additionally, those concerns would best be addressed by changes to our welfare laws such as is happening currently in California, which really has nothing to do with immigrating. In fact, people with a history of receiving welfare such as general assistance would be denied under the public charge provisions.

  6. Might be time to make it illegal to marry an illegal alien within the borders of the United States. Seems like it basically constitutes aiding and abetting.

  7. I can't believe there are people that actually live within the belief that people who marry undocumented immigrants haven't done so because *gasp* they're actually in love. I mean, really. Go on and send me to jail then for marrying the love of my life simply because he crossed an imaginary line.

  8. astridxx, please explain why WE should give the "love of your life" residency in this country when he couldn't be bothered to follow the laws of this country? Now, why is it that you can't go live with him in HIS country?

  9. This is an outstanding change. One that reduces the bureaucratic borders that separate families. It is a very significant change. Bravo CIS.

  10. It isn't the "bureaucracy" that separates families. It's the choices of the illegal aliens themselves. They choose to marry citizens, knowing that they are here illegally. They choose to have children here, knowing that they themselves are deportable. Should we forgive embezzlers and con artists their crimes because they marry a U.S. citizen or have kids?

  11. This is a welcome common sense proposal. However, if the intent is to minimize the period of family separation, why not go the bat and not separate families at all.

    Since the eligible family members are already in the US, why not just grant the green card right here in the US rather than giving them the waiver, then forcing them to leave and wait in the home country for the green card?

  12. We already have enough problems with marriage fraud. Why on earth would we want to add to it by letting illegal aliens adjust status in the U.S. merely by marrying a U.S. citizen?

  13. Marriage fraud is addressed by the current law in which a person who has been married for less then two years at the time of processing is given conditional residence and must file a second application to lift the condition two years later. In the first and second applications interviews are conducted and evidence is required to show the marriage is "bona fide." If you have ever sat in on an interview to lift conditional residence where there is any doubt you would feel confident that the officers are trained in fraud detection and err on the side of invasiveness.

  14. In reply to Ali -- "Just by marrying a U.S. citizen" ??? You clearly haven't been through the process. We went in with 7 years worth of household account books, tax returns, photo albums ... And we'd already been married over 5 years so they weren't allowed to ask us the *really* offensive and invasive questions. It ain't a walk in the park, believe me.

  15. PLEASE keep these families together ... on the other side of the border! Our lack of border enforcement is disgusting, and the ship is sinking because we are trying to provide for all of the world's "have-nots." Stop having babies you cannot afford to support, and THEN we will think about how we can best help you ... like sending money to your own country to keep you there while we work out own own VERY SUBSTANTIAL fiscal, social and educational problems. And this is not aimed at Hispanics: it is directed to illegals FROM EVERY COUNTRY. The faucet of giving needs to be turned off so that we can provide for our own: own homeless; our disabled vets; our seniors living in poverty. NOT YOURS!

  16. Would you say this to a US Citizen who married an undocumented man because they LOVE each other? Would you say this to a US Citizen whose husband could not be by her side as their very first child was born? Would you say this to a little 3 month old baby girl whose father is back in his native land because he crossed an IMAGINARY LINE??? I dare you.

  17. That it is "aimed" at all nationalities is totally untrue. The fact is that it impacts hispanics exponentially more than any other group. And the primary petition is a US citizen. Do you suggest we effectively expatriot or exile US Citizens because they fall in love with a hispanic person who crossed the border while allowing the USC who fell in love with a French national that overstayed a tourist visa to process here and continue on with their lives? No, this is a directed law that penalizes immigrants from Latin American countries almost exclusively.

  18. This is not a change in the law. The alien still has to jump through all of the same legal hurdles. The significance of this regulatory change is that the waiver application can be made in the United States, and the alien and family members can stay together while it is being reviewed. Otherwise, under current regulations, the alien (father, husband, breadwinner) gets stuck outside the Untied States for up to a year while the waiver is decided through long processes that start at the US consulate in the alien's home country.

    If the waiver does not get approved, the alien is here illegally and can be put in deportation proceedings.

  19. The underlying problem are three-year or ten-year bars. We lived without them for over 200 years (up to 1997), and we can live without them now. This is a helpful step by the Obama administration, but, as Ali points out, it's got one major difficulty: who will want to come forward and apply for the waiver if doing so means announcing to USCIS that they are here. It's like saying, "Here I am. Come deport me."

  20. Sadly, we don't know if the New York Times knows the difference between Immigrant and Illegal Alien. If they are suggesting there is a snag in with 'immigrants', it should be fixed. If it deals with illegal aliens, the couple can re-unit, and legally do that, in the country of origin for the illegal alien.

  21. One comment implied that if a U.S. citizen marries an illegal immigrant, they could both return to live in the country of the illegal person and that would solve their problem. I believe that if the illegal alien's original country has the same immigration laws as we do, the U.S. citizen would be an alien in that country so that would not be a viable solution.

  22. What is the benefit of being a US citizen if you have to go abroad to a foreign country to get your spouse legal status? Do you have any idea what the US State Department spends on processing abroad? Here at least the USC and spouse can be working and paying taxes. Your view is purely punitive, and doesn't take into account the economic realities of the situation and the fact that barring crimes, etc. that spouse WILL immigrate. The question is at what cost?

  23. Thelma, That's actually not true. At least in my spouse's home country, I'd have been received as the spouse of a citizen, and would have had fairly automatic work authorization. I speak the language fluently and have academic qualifications that I could use there. The problem is that it's incredibly dangerous. I could work there. The question is whether I'd live through the 10-year exclusion period.

  24. I have been in the US legally for more than 22 years, and have never overstayed a visa. After all this time, in spite of a perfect civic record and two U.S. born children, and having paid hundreds of thousands $ to immigration attorneys I still do not have a green card and have to renew my work visa annually. Such is the U.S. legal immigration system.
    In the meantime, there have been several amnesties for illegal immigrants, and this latest proposal appears to be another one. According to the description of the proposal, someone who has come to the US last year, overstayed their visa, married a US citizen, could automatically become permanent resident this year, without any penalty for breaking the laws.
    I would have at least proposed a large fine, say $30,000. It would have still been humane, and would have constituted some form of penalty that would have also benefited the US. Furthermore, unless it applies only to past illegals, wouldn't such amnesty also encourage future illegal immigration?
    The message to me and other long-term legal aliens is that the U.S. prefers people who choose to break the law to those who abide by it.
    The stress should be on an overhaul of the legal immigration system and encouragement of merit-based immigration. The rewards should go to those who abide by the law, and not to those that break it.

  25. I believe you are exaggerating your case. There is a no way you can be in US legally for 22 years. An H1-B work visa is valid only for 6 years, and can be extended each year only when you have a permanent resident application approved and waiting for you number to be current. At most, it should take you 6 years after your first 6 years of H1-B.

  26. weltwindsand, you misread the proposal. Nobody "automatically" becomes a permanent resident, as you already well know. An applicant for permanent residency based on marriage to a US citizen, who overstayed their visa and is unlawfully present, will still be subject to a bar to inadmissibility that will be triggered when they leave the country. This is the penalty. The applicant must still obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. This is the penalty. The only difference is that the applicant may apply for a provisional waiver before they leave the country that, if granted (never a sure thing), would significantly lessen the time they'd need to spend outside the US and separated from their US citizen family members.

    The United States may indeed decide to prefer people who are married to US citizens over other long-term legal aliens like you, if the US so decides. Why you think this is an affront to people like you, who aren't being asked to leave the country to renew your work visa annually, looks like little more than sour grapes.

  27. Commentators complain of the burden of immigrants, or the bad judgement of those of us who've married folks without permanent status. Things to think about:

    One: Something like 40% of those who are present w/o formal status have had status and lost it. Some of them overstayed visas. Many lost status in other ways -- it's easy to do, it's even without knowing you've done it. BCIS is very unforgiving. It's easy to get into a situation where you have no lawful remedy.

    Two, Many citizens marry aliens assuming that they can get them papers. My spouse and I did not walk into this situation blind, but I know people who have. They've married, gone in to BCIS to file for a green card for the noncitizen spouse, been surprised to hear that IIRAIRA bars exist, and one of the couple has gone home alone.

    I married someone who had legal, but nonpermanent status. It took 8 years to get my spouse a green card. During most of this time it looked as if it would be impossible. I married knowing that I might need to spend 10 years abroad, and was prepared to do so. My partner married me knowing there would be no immigration status as a result of the marriage. Long road ... Two kids here w/ Green Cards, one still waiting after 5 years, 2 foster kids for whom we can't petition. It's been hard.

    US immigration law has changed drastically in the last 35 years, many citizens are unaware of what's being done in our name. I applaud Obama for these changes, it's about time.

  28. 8 years for green card for your spouse? You have been a special case. From what I have heard and seen, you get your green card within 2 years, and become eligbible for citizenship in the another three. So withing 5 years your spouse can become a US citizen.

  29. Marc, we weren't a special case at all. There are many thousands of us. We needed a special hardship waiver; there were many years when we talked to our lawyer annually and were told "Don't apply, they're deporting people for asking." Because my spouse had temporary status, I think we wouldn't have benefitted from the present waiver proposal. Hope I'm wrong about that.

    The process once started is long. But there are far too many people for whom there just isn't any process available. Including thousands of spouses of citizens.

  30. Couldn't you legally move to your spouse's home country?

  31. Unfortunately we do not live in a world where there is a formula for which to follow when finding a life partner, and therefore, many contributing members and their families live in fear of separation. If this program can help those continue to contribute freely, raise their children thoughtfully, and return to their native lands to visit their own families then they should be allowed that right. This is meant to give the non-criminal (and I know most will reply by saying that those who are here illegally ARE criminals, let me say I disagree) the opportunity to correct their mistake and live in peace.

  32. While this change is welcome, what really needs to change is the culture of adjudication of these waivers, and a loosening of the "extreme hardship" standard. It is untenable and makes light of the tremendous suffering brought upon the families of the immigrants. To say, "obtaining the waiver was almost as hard and time-consuming as obtaining a green card" misses the mark. Getting the waiver is the hardest part, full stop. Also, what is to stop vindictive consular officials abroad from failing to respect the provisional grant? What we need is comprehensive immigration reform now. Or, at the very least, the administration could expand the parole in place option for immediate relatives of USC's who entered without inspection.

  33. The United States of America needs more and more immigrants with more and more ability - and work ethic.

    Our congress needs to stop playing games - everywhere.

    Merit is what matters. The American way is watering the gene pool. Farms and farm workers, case in point. USDA is ludicrous, USCIS is a mess.

    When we in the USA face the music, take a look at what's happened to us, we will seek the most able and open the doors to all people, people of all colors, all people.

    We need ability. We need courage.

    We do not need this G/D enabling congress and all the crooks and lawyers feeding off the dysfunction in government.

    We need the tired and the poor - and their energy.

    Now.

  34. I think I'm going to cry.

    Give me your tired, your poor, your river jumpers, your anchor babies, your murderers, your vehicular manslaughterers, your welfare cases. Only then can America rise from the ashes and become the shining pay toilet of earth.

  35. Agreed, immigration needs reform, especially for people doing it legally and getting snagged in bureaucratic red tape. Something like the Skilled Occupation List in Australia, which is a points based system would be ideal.

  36. We need QUALITY immigrants - that's the key. We don't people with criminal records, particularly a history of violent crime, who don't even have a high school education. We need EDUCATED immigrants. Instead the US has welcomed the uneducated, tired and poor. Canada actively seeks educated immigrants and that has worked for them.

  37. While this is great news it still ignores a large minority; married same-sex couples. Even if this goes through, same-sex married couples would still be barred from its provisions as the US government does not recognize our unions due to the indefensible "Defense of Marriage Act."

  38. I think this will happen eventually. Canada already allows for immigration for same-sex couples. I wonder if the chances of fraud marriages would be similar to those in hetrosexual marriage visas.

  39. That's right, Rick. Now, even heterosexual married couples in which one of them is an illegal immigrant have more rights than law abiding same-sex married couples who are bi-national.

    Granting this pathway is the right thing to do for all couples, but this just makes the exclusion of same-sex couples from our immigration law seem even that much more hateful.

  40. Meanwhile my foreign fiance is not legally able to enter the US because I don't have a 2 year work history earning over approx. $18,000, having just graduated college nor a sponsor willing to take the legal and economic responsibility for sponsoring the visa. So I got to choose to live without my fiance for 2 years OR to move out of the country, to his, where getting a work visa is much easier... Despite the 4-6 month wait for the visa to actually be approved...

    And when we get married in a year, that doesn't make it any easier for him to get a resident-visa for the US than just being a fiance, and actually makes it harder for him to get a tourist/student visa than before, in case we want to stay here instead, but, you know, would like to visit my family and my country together (and he already got denied for a student visa once before we were engaged).

    So... good for you illegals who broke the law to be where you are instead of making the tough choices to do it legally. As if their spouse/children have no way to enter the illegal immigrant's home country to live there.

  41. All of these people are married or children of USC's, just like you. They also have to show they will not be public charges and the burden appropriately is on the petitioning relative. I can't really see a meaningful distinction - even if your fiancee managed to get in, you still would not have the finances to qualify.

  42. Since you are so much better off and financially secure in doing it the legal way, why complain about others who have to face economic disasters in their home countries. Many of the immigrants are economic immigrants who are looking to improve their lives and of their familes. In you comment you say that your fiance's country has a better visa system, so why not take advantage of that if that country can provide livelihood for both of you? It is not fair to compare it those who immigrate from poorer countries who have absolutely no option but to travel to developed countries whether that be in Europe or US.

  43. Ouch, I hear you. Yes, we do have to prove income -- and sacrifice almost all privacy! -- in order to sponsor someone legally. I've done it, & I know whereof you speak. I'm really sorry you haven't been able to do this yet.

    The "tough choices to do it legally" really aren't there for a lot of people. For example, the visa fees are flat regardless of country of origin. For a working-class person from Central America, the fee for a tourist visa amounts to 2 weeks' pay, and the fee for an immigrant visa about half a year's pay. This basically rules out anyone who isn't already wealthy by local standards. The non-monetary requirements are very First-World biassed, so that many people can't meet them. Your chances of success are probably under 5% overall, less if you're a young adult.

    I don't mind that immigrating legally involves some effort and dedication. It's a big deal, and not to be done lightly. But I don't think it's right either that it's basically impossible for

  44. Legal immigration made this country great.

    Illegal immigration is destroying it.

    Wake up, America.

  45. This is a huge step forward in creating a humane and workable immigration policy. For background on the problem this will help fix, see, "Dying for a Green Card," Mother Jones magazine, http://bit.ly/eyBLjE.

  46. Yeah! Let the noise from the right wing machine begin!

  47. Brainwshed? must be. since you spouted of with the hate already. Nothing was stopping them from getting legal in the first place. As article says. So the w.h Bending over to la raza and other groups that refuse to follow the rules.
    Sorry. But they all have a chance in One year of coming here to get legal and a citizen, but they listen to the illegal support groups and get stuck. To bad. Nothing stopping from taking the kids with them then return .

  48. I not right wing and I know this is wrong. And I'm not Anglo.

  49. We should not encourage illegal immigration, but neither should we make life more difficult for someone to cultivate and maintain family life. Government is an abstraction existing to enhance the existence of individuals and their primary relationships - families. In this regard, the President's proposed change is a common sense step in the right direction.

  50. They do not deserve anything from us, even a family. They are illegal and deserve deportation.

  51. Ali, if the waiver is denied then the applicant will be facing a 10 year ban from the US, although I believe there are appeals to the denial. Usually a waiver can be just approved, or it can be referred in which the petitioner would have to submit additional hardship evidence after which it could take up to 12 months for a second revision and decision for the visa. The initial decision has currently been almost 4 months and counting for me and my husband (which means yes we are going through this process.) My husband had to go back to his birth country and has been there since May 2011. He not only had to leave me behind, but also our 4 year old daughter. And one major important fact to your little comment is that some (maybe most) of us do not intentionally decide to marry someone who is breaking the law. You really cant help who you fall in love with and decide you want to spend your life with. Its not like you go around everyday asking people their legal/illegal status just to know who you will or will not fall in love with. I am not saying to just go and give leeway to all immigrants just because they are married to US citizens, because people should have to prove their relationship is real love and for life. Atleast they SHOULD do something for those families who have proved the hardships, or have proved they have been in the relationship over 2 years or so.... anything to make it easier on us REAL FAMILIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Doesn't this belong on the opinion page? The times is certainly making no secret of what side it's on "snag" "bureaucratic" "catch-22".

  53. If it makes right wingers unhappy it must be the right thing to do.

  54. At last, some real hope for putting and end to the draconian laws that have been in place for way too long.

  55. I keep wondering why these schemes always end up as either "no status" or "green card". Wouldn't it be more politically palitible on both side of the aisle, if when figuring out how to normalize the status of the undocumented, the Democrats proposed a scheme that:

    1) Puts all legal applicants (and H1Bs etc) in the queue first, and
    2) Leads to permenant legal status, but not to citizenship for the undocumented (e.g., a real "PR status" that will not allow citizenship).

    This would blunt much of the criticism of the Right and allow a constructive solution that both sides can [reluctantly] agree on...

  56. Finally. These are people who have a right to immigrate and will immigrate barring unusual circumstances that would be found out whether they process here or abroad. For those who would have the law be punitive, the current processing abroad costs they US State Department way more than if these people process here and the financial costs of the families losing wages, etc. also has a system toll in addition to the human emotional cost. This makes sense every way you look at it. This is NOT an amnesty. It is a streamlining of processing of relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been already categorized by USCIS as eligible to immigrate through their US citizen family member. That Congress did not correct this long ago makes no logistical sense.

  57. It's about time! I know many upstanding people...who are not yet legal citizens of this country. Some are here on work visas, others were living here for many years and eventually married a U.S. citizen. And the stories they tell me about what they have to go through....leaving the country every 3(?) years whether they like it or not, and then they must stay in their resident country for 1(?) week, and then return to the U.S. all so that their passport or whatever can show that they re-entered the U.S. legally...it's totally confounding and confusing. Other friends have told me that before their mate could get a green card, they both had to be interviewed so that our govt. could make sure they were a legit couple... that one didn't just want the green card and then they would divorce. And while that may all sound like a well and good policy, the 'interview' is a total farce. They actually ask the mates questions like "what was the name of the grammar school that your mate attended?" or 'what was the name of your mate's first pet?" Um, how many couples do you know that could seriously answer those questions? All these couples who want green cards (both legitimate couples and 'fake' couples, they then have immigration lawyers PREP them for the interviews, so that they will be able to answer these utterly ridiculous questions. So how does all this bureaucracy truly ensure that green cards are only going to legitimate couples? It does not.

  58. I came here as a a legal non-immigrant on a dependent visa at the age of 14, went through high school and college all paid for by merit based scholarships. I am now contributing to the progress of my country by working in a Research job. Ten years hence I still need a visa to live in the US in spite of a permanent residency application being filed 9 years back. This system has failed me. I have accepted this country as mine, she has still not accepted me.

  59. This is not necessarily about those who marry an EWI immigrant or those that have a child and where EWI themselves, in fact extreme hardship has to be demonstrated on the part of the US Citizen, not the individual that is undocumented. So the now adult son/daughter, born in the US, would have to demonstrate that they could not live without their parents, which would be considerably hard, unless they have a life threatening illness requiring constant care, I see it highly unlikely for such a petition to be approved. Even if it is the spouse of a US Citizen, and they have a child together it would be hard to prove that there would be extreme hardship without the other spouse, after all, there are many single parent families.

    This change is more about fixing a small problem that could break families apart on a question that might not work out and place people under unnecessary risk.

    As it currently stands, people with extreme hardship will usually be advised against applying for the waiver because in order to do so they have to leave the country, start the petitioning process through their country, face the 3-10 year ban and then apply for the waiver, if denied, they are out of luck and will stay in their country of birth for the period of the ban and perhaps even longer, depending on the petition.

  60. It pays to be an illegal to be in this country. People who come legally and follow all rules, pay taxes (carry these illegal people thru the health, school etc) have to wait years and years to get a green card. Shame on immigration system.

  61. I am also observing a lot of cases where individuals that came to the US as children, overstayed in most circumstances, see their parents being able to be petitioned by their younger but now over 21 brother or sister, and despite having been in the US since they were too young to remember, there is not path for their legalization, even when the parents becomes a US Citizen.

    Currently, once you turn 21, you are able to petition for your spouse, children or parents as immediate relatives and the process takes a matter of months all done within the United States if they overstayed, if EWI (Emigrated Without Inspection) they face the ban and have to try and get a waiver for that, extremely hard to do in whatever the circumstance.

    The problem here is the use of Children in who an immediate relative is, once you turn 21 you are then considered the son or daughter and thus no longer an immediate relative, the petition process now has to be done outside of the country regardless of overstay or EWI status, face the ban, and could take as long as 25 years to complete.

    This change to the extreme hardship waiver is an attempt to fix an obvious flaw, but like that flaw there are many many more throughout the system which breaks families apart and places people who have lived in this country for a very long period of time, maybe even most or just about all their lives to the extent that the foreign country of birth is certain foreign to them and not at all their home.

  62. I am also observing a lot of cases where individuals that came to the US as children, overstayed in most circumstances, see their parents being able to be petitioned by their younger but now over 21 brother or sister, and despite having been in the US since they were too young to remember, there is not path for their legalization, even when the parents becomes a US Citizen.

    Currently, once you turn 21, you are able to petition for your spouse, children or parents as immediate relatives and the process takes a matter of months all done within the United States if they overstayed, if EWI (Emigrated Without Inspection) they face the ban and have to try and get a waiver for that, extremely hard to do in whatever the circumstance.

    The problem here is the use of Children in who an immediate relative is, once you turn 21 you are then considered the son or daughter and thus no longer an immediate relative, the petition process now has to be done outside of the country regardless of overstay or EWI status, face the ban, and could take as long as 25 years to complete.

    This change to the extreme hardship waiver is an attempt to fix an obvious flaw, but like that flaw there are many many more throughout the system which breaks families apart and places people who have lived in this country for a very long period of time, maybe even most or just about all their lives to the extent that the foreign country of birth is certain foreign to them and not at all their home.

  63. People who skip our immigration lines should not be on Obama's mind or agenda. Especially in the middle of a recession.

  64. To tell you the truth, I don't know why anyone would want to go to America. I'm an American living in Turkey and I tell everyone who wants to go to America to stay in Turkey. Us Americans are delusional to think we are the greatest country in the world, maybe we have the biggest guns and the biggest economy, but besides that, us working people are in debt up to our eyebrows. I hate to rain on your parade my fellow americans but most of us go from paycheck to paycheck. Our healthcare system is broken and our representation stops at the ballot box. God Bless America !

  65. So Once again the Left is rewarding people who broke our laws with the feel good pathetic reason kids. Take them back with them and the spouse too, Or since the spouse is legal or a citizen she he can fly back and forth. Simple. Aiding and abetting a criminal is a felony offense we need to hold the party to that charge.
    Don't Forget the Democrat battle cry. Give them what ever they want we got their votes for life. That is all the Democrats care about VOTES. Not you, not me, and whey they legal not them either.

  66. What I don't understand is why those who are outraged when states try to pass laws that appear to them to single out immigrants from other parts of the Americas for discrimination and other ill treatment do not see a problem also with proposed laws clearly meant to favor illegal aliens in that group over others who have respected our laws. Special treatment will only encourage further abuses, in my opinion, and our immigration laws already favor those who have achieved advanced levels of education or who have some special talent, so the proposed law would appear to help only those whose education/talent level is at or below that of the ordinary citizenry, a perhaps imprudent idea during this time of high unemployment.

    In any case, how well must one know someone before knowing his or her immigration status?

  67. Maria wrote: For those who would have the law be punitive, the current processing abroad costs they US State Department way more than if these people process here and the financial costs of the families losing wages, etc. also has a system toll in addition to the human emotional cost. This makes sense every way you look at it. This is NOT an amnesty. It is a streamlining of processing of relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been already categorized by USCIS as eligible to immigrate through their US citizen family member.
    -------------Now, just why would would-be LEGAL immigrants who follow the law all along have any incentive to do so, when they can marry an American or have an American child here to sponsor them and get the virtually instant right to remain here, courtesy of this this Administration's proposed rule? The issue isn't so much what it does to families now (and face it, the illegal aliens put their families in this situation, NOT U.S. law), but what it will do to illegal immigration in the future. Increase it. Moreover, the law categorizes them as eligible to immigrate AFTER they've faced the 3- or 10-year bar to entry or received a hardship waiver. In other words, after they've "gone to the back of the line" and waited their turn, something they didn't bother to do in the first place.

  68. The entire immigration system needs to be reformed for both family based and employment based applications. Laws can't stay the same for years and need to change and adopt. Unfortunately Congress has not done anything so any step towards reforming the system is helpful. I also don't think that one can compare the US immigration with other countries as the number of potential illegal immigrants is really not the same.

  69. My son's friend married a foreign national in her home country. It took them several YEARS to get a spousal visa for her. Actually we ourselves went to that country and met some people from the local embassy and told them about all the problems the young couple was having, and a few people from the embassy intervened in some way to speed up the process, otherwise it could have taken even more years. The marriage was perfectly legitimate so there was no real reason why they had to wait so long to get her visa.

  70. For a working-class person from Central America, the fee for a tourist visa amounts to 2 weeks' pay, and the fee for an immigrant visa about half a year's pay.
    This is a crazy argument for suggesting that people come here illegally and then hope for best. We have 40% of our population living under the poverty level, why encourage more people to join those ranks and help deplete the public finances of a state. Where are your minds folks?
    Countries have designed laws about immigration for a reason--if you can't afford the visa fee, it is certainly an indication that you will not be able to afford to live in the USA.
    People who were illegal and got married must have known that it was going to be an impossible marriage. What were they thinking?

  71. What a great first step in fixing our broken immigration system. These regulations were written years ago and no longer make sense given the reality of mixed-status families!! Thank you, President Obama!

  72. I think when it comes to spouse and children of US citizens and lawful permanent residents, it should be a no-brainer that they should become resident as well. But bringing other relatives (brothers ,sisters, mom and dad, etc...) should not. That is the approach Canada took and I think it is fair.

    Other part that annoys me about this new change is that a spouse of a legal permanent resident will still have to wait several years before get a green card. And someone spare me the backdoor immigration argument because people that would do that now just marry US Citizens instead. After all, the legal permanent resident can't vote (either democrat or republican) so why be fair to them...

    Concerning present changes I do not see how granting a green card to illegal immigrants without any form of penalty is NOT amnesty. They should pay a penalty. I think three years away seems fair. Ten years is just not right. The only exception I would have is when people have children. In some selected cases, AMNESTY can be the right course.

  73. What I don't get is : A) DV lottery B) why other relatives than spouse and children are illegible for Green Cards. I know for let's say an illegal or LPR brother the wait is very long (more than 10 years) but why even allow it.

  74. And this is how this administration views laws...they're only applicable when it suits their needs.
    This is nothing but pandering for votes from the "latino" community.
    No real platform, qualifications or experience, the president will (what amounts to) buy votes.
    Chicago politics alive and well at the national level.