The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service, a department within Homeland Security, recently announced that effective March 4th, it will accept provisional unlawful waiver applications submitted by the illegal alien parents, children and spouses of United States citizens. Read the USCIS announcement here.
Boiled down into layman’s terms, prior to the new regulation an illegal alien who is the immediate relative of a citizen had to apply for a visa from the United States consulate office in his home country or, alternatively, mail it to a relative in his home country who would submit it to the consular office.
Once the application was processed, the illegal alien would be scheduled for an interview at the consular office. That meant he would have to leave the U.S. to be interviewed. If it was determined that the alien had been living in the U.S. illegally—either because the alien admitted it or because he showed up on a DHS security database as being illegal—he would be found inadmissible back into the U.S. for a period ranging from 3 to 10 years.
The alien would then have to apply for a waiver of ineligibility and wait for the waiver to be approved or denied in his home country. If the waiver were denied, the alien would have to either remain in his native country or sneak back into the U.S. illegally.
Under the new provision, the illegal alien still has to file the visa application in the consular office at home. But as soon as the application is filed, he can apply for the waiver without leaving the U.S. If the waiver is granted, he can go home for the interview and return to the U.S. immediately and legally. If the waiver is denied, he would abandon his visa application and could remain the U. S. illegally.
According to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, “The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to US citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves…The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”
Allegedly, applicants must prove that their absence from their citizen spouse or parent represents a family hardship. Those guidelines are vague but would likely be lenient thereby allowing almost everyone to qualify.
Visa waivers don’t increase the existing illegal alien population. But the new DHS guidelines supersede the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act’s provision that established the conditions under which an alien can qualify for a waiver.