The Obama administration has proposed a new immigration provision that would allow immediate undocumented relatives of U.S. citizens to stay on the country while wait for a decision on their citizenship applications.
The proposed change, called unlawful presence waivers, is intended to keep families together. The Department of Homeland Security said in their announcement, “The goal… is to alleviate the extreme hardship certain U.S. citizens experience when they are separated for extended periods of time from their spouses, children and parents.” Adding, “The USCIS expects that this new process will streamline the waiver process and reduce the time immediate relatives must remain abroad to obtain an immigrant visa.”
Many people including, Latino lawmakers, immigration attorneys and advocates have pushed for immigration reform and urged lawmakers to keep families together, but no reform has been forthcoming and a key bill, The DREAM ACT, has been defeated numerous times.
But the new proposal has gotten a great deal of criticism from Republicans who have dubbed the proposal as “stealth amnesty”, a charge they also used to describe the DREAM Act. Lawmakers also accuse the administration of blowing off Congress and abusing executive powers.
Immigration lawyers deal first hand with the challenges that immigrants face. Obtaining visas or citizenship often entails long wait times that can last years; so many undocumented immigrants chose to stay with their families instead of waiting until their immigration attorneys can obtain the necessary legal documents.