CLINIC Applauds Revised Waiver Policy as Family-Friendly

Jan 6, 2012
Wendy Rhein

CONTACT: Wendy Rhein


CLINIC Applauds Revised Waiver Policy as Family-Friendly

Washington, DC (January 6, 2012) [En español] The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) applauds the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Obama Administration for  the  proposal announced today that would permit  spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for waivers of their inadmissibility before leaving this country. 

This new proposal is limited to those who need to file for a waiver based on lack of status, or unlawful presence. An individual who has been in the United States without legal immigration status for more than 180 days is barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of either three or ten years afterward.  To date, individuals have had to leave the U.S. before applying for  this type of waiver, a process that can take a year or more, dividing families and causing significant upheaval and instability.  Today’s announcement goes a long way to protect family unity, allowing  a broader group of applicants to remain in the U.S. with their families while these waivers  are being adjudicated.   

"Today, the Administration took a very meaningful step to ameliorate the pain of families,” said Maria M. Odom, executive director of CLINIC.  “For years the children and spouses of U.S. citizens have unnecessarily suffered long and painful separations as they took the legal steps toward residency and citizenship.  With the ability to pre-apply for a waiver of inadmissibility based on unlawful presence, families can now benefit from a consistent and more efficient process and face consular processing without fear and angst of the unknown,” said Odom. “These families will be able to plan ahead for shorter separations and less emotional and financial harm, especially to their U.S. citizen children. We are optimistic that the agency and the administration will expand this proposed change to include all family members seeking an immigrant visa, as well as waivers for all grounds of inadmissibility."

With today’s proposal, certain unlawful presence waiver applicants would be able to wait in the U.S. until the waiver is granted and only have to wait in their home country for the time it takes to approve the immigrant visa. 

For more information, please see CLINIC’s memo, Important Changes to I-601 Waiver Processing.