“Family Unity Waiver” A Step Towards Humane Immigration Reform

Voces de la Frontera is joining national immigration leaders and legal experts in applauding the recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a key change in the immigration process.

The new regulation, announced in a notice in the Federal Register, will allow certain family visa applicants to file their applications waivers in the U.S. 

Under current law, the spouses and children of US Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents who qualify for ‘green cards’ must return to their home country to apply for their visa abroad, but as soon as they leave, they are barred from re-entry for three or ten years,depending on the amount of time they’ve been undocumented in the US.

Currently they can apply for a hardship exemption waiver of the three or ten year bar while in their home country, but this process may take months or years, during which time they may face potentially dangerous situations in their home countries while they wait.

The proposed rule change would potentially allow hundreds of thousands of spouses and children of US Citizens to remain in the United States with their families while their waiver application is being adjudicated stateside. 

Prior to implementation of the rule change, there will a 60-day public comment period, in which Voces and our national allies will play an active role.

According to Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera:

“This is a welcome step in the right direction by the Obama administration, and underlines the importance of keeping families together. Now it needs to go further. Stateside waiver processing is common sense, and should be extended to lawful permanent resident family members who still have to wait outside the US for weeks, months, or even years before getting a decision on their waiver application.

This complicated and overly bureaucratic process destroys the myth which many politicians love to perpetuate about how smoothly the immigration process would work if only all immigrants would ‘get in line’.”

Voces is requesting that anyone who may have questions about the “Family Unity Waiver” contact our office at (414) 643-1620.

We will also be holding an informational community forum at our Milwaukee office, 1027 S. 5th Street, on Saturday February 4th at 1:00 pm.

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