The Obama Administration proposed a rule that would amnesty the illegal-alien spouses, children and parents of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) in a manner similar to the congressionally-authorized 245(i) amnesty. The provisional unlawful presence waiver under the rule would allow an estimated 272,000 illegal aliens in these categories to obtain a green card without facing the current statutory penalty - a 3-year or 10-year bar on re-entry to the U.S.
Currently, there is no statutory visa for parents of LPRs and the spouses and children of LPRs are subject to statutorily-established visa caps, unlike immediate relatives of citizens. To obtain LPR status, the illegal alien spouses, children and parents of LPRs must leave the United States for visa processing. But since they were never legally processed upon entry, their departure triggers a 3-year or 10-year re-entry bar, depending on the length of their illegal stay. The re-entry bar is a penalty because it forces the illegal alien to remain outside the U.S. for an extended period before becoming eligible to obtain LPR status and legally re-enter.
Under a 2013 rule the illegal-alien parents, spouses and children of U.S. citizens may apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver of the 3-year and 10-year bars and remain in the country while seeking a green card. They must show that not obtaining the waiver would cause extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen spouse or parent.
The 2013 rule produced essentially the same results as the congressionally-authorized 245(i) amnesty, but only for the relatives of U.S. citizens. Although Congress never renewed that amnesty since it expired in 2001, the Obama Administration chose to implement it through executive action.
This new proposed rule would extend the amnesty by adding provisional unlawful presence waivers for the illegal-alien spouses, children, and parents of LPRs who, if not for the bar, would otherwise qualify for family-based or employment-based visas. The person must have an immigrant visa case pending based on an approved immigrant visa petition and have paid the immigrant visa processing fee, or must have been selected to participate in the Diversity Visa program.
In a related Free Beacon article, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn was quoted as saying “It’s a very bad policy. It makes it possible for illegal aliens to avoid the consequences established by Congress to deter people from settling here illegally and then laundering their status by adjusting to a green card…It is a slap in the face to the many legal immigrants who abide by the law, follow the process, and wait their turn…In addition, it will increase the likelihood of fraud in the marriage categories, which produce tens of thousands of new green cards each year.”
The public will until September 21st to comment on the proposal.
Read more in the Free Beacon.
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:21pm EDT