Nearly two years since the announcement of the provisional waiver of inadmissibility, known as the I-601A extreme hardship waiver, we have learned quite a bit about the people that need this waiver and the way the government is processing them. Here are the top five things we have learned: The process has transformed lives. We have witnessed families emerge from desperation and hopelessness to seize the opportunity to take charge of their lives.
First, let us state outright: the inclusion of this Motley Crue video was done only at the suggestion of the client. Benach Collopy is not, and never has been, a fan of Motley Crue. But, as dedicated counselors, we will tolerate hair metal for the needs of the client. We are happy to report that today we received our first visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad for an individual who required an I-601A provisional waiver.
Today, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service announced a fix to one of the more serious problems with the provisional waiver process for unlawful presence. As you may know, the CIS instituted the I-601A provisional waiver process last year to allow immigrants who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens but are also ineligible to seek residence in the U.S. due to unlawful entry to seek a provisional waiver of inadmissibility in anticipation of seeking a visa at the U.S.
Looking back on what turned out to be a disappointing 2013 for the lack of progress on meaningful immigration reform and on the continuing pace of removals, we have tried to figure out what articles and stories most appealed to our readers. Turns out that our readers were not as interested in the minute-by-minute accounts of progress, but rather came to Lifted Lamp for information about developments in the law that had a real impact upon their lives.
In June 2013, Immigration Briefings, a West publication serving lawyers, published Dree Collopy’s article entitled “I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence: A Practitioner’s Guide for Preserving Family Unity.” (June2013_IB) Intended to help attorneys navigate the new legal landscape of the I-601A provisional waiver, Dree’s article demonstrates Dree’s expertise in hardship waivers and skill in getting the most for her clients. (PS- That’s Dree in the middle, getting an award!) The article identifies the problems that the I-601A provisional waiver was meant to solve and the practical step lawyers should follow to ensure that they prepare a proper application.
It has been four months since the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) began stateside adjudication of I-601A Applications for Provisional Waivers of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence. In those four months, we have learned a few things about how U.S. CIS is implementing this new program. Initially, the U.S. CIS has received over 7,000 I-601A provisional waiver applications. Many have been already been decided and CIS states that it has a six month processing goal.
The optimism and hope that have been generated by all of the hype around immigration reform has been intense. Every day, a new prominent political figure comes out in favor of immigration reform. Look, Sean Hannity! Condoleeza Rice! Was that closet really big enough for Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes? Eric Cantor and John Boehner now support the DREAM Act after voting against it in 2010!
Over the last few weeks we have answered dozens of questions about the provisional waiver. One group of questions keeps appearing- questions about how people in removal proceedings or with a removal order can qualify for the provisional waiver. Whereas, the initial rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security indicated that the provisional waiver would be unavailable to people in removal proceedings, the final rule is somewhat more forgiving.
The Citizenship & Immigration Service has released more information about the I-601A provisional waiver process set to begin on March 4. The I-601A provisional waiver process is meant to allow the immediate relatives of United States citizens to seek a waiver of inadmissibility due to unlawful presence while in the United States and prior to departing the U.S. for an interview at a U.S. consulate abroad.
The publication of the rule allowing for processing of provisional waivers for unlawful presence in the United States was another act of administrative rule-making that the President has undertaken to make the immigration laws more humane. Over the past year, the effort at prosecutorial discretion, the introduction of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the provisional waiver have created a much improved immigration system that attempts to solve real immigration problems for families.