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.
Today, the USCIS finally published the much-awaited rule on the unlawful presence waiver (I-601A), which will take effect on March 4, 2013. We previewed this development in this blog in October 2012. This is an enormous development. The so-called stateside waiver process will allow thousands of immigrants to take the steps to regularize their immigration status. The new waiver provisions do nothing to change the substantive requirement that an immigrant demonstrate that the denial of her permanent residence would cause extreme hardship to her U.S.
It is very true that the immigration laws need a wholesale revision. Congress needs to make substantial changes, regulations need to be re-written, precedent decisions scrapped and new guidance forthcoming. But another change is needed and this change may the hardest of all. It is a change of attitude within the agencies. We have written in this space on multiple occasions about the hostility that elements within ICE have for their political leadership and the “culture of no” within CIS has been well-documented.
The CIS has announced that a major change to the way that it processes waivers for unlawful presence will be finalized by the end of the year. This change has the potential to help thousands of immigrants married to Americans but unable to adjust status in the U.S. to regularize their status. It has always been one of the worst parts of being an immigration lawyer. I meet a young couple- an American citizen and her foreign-born husband.