Our client of the month for October 2015 is Juan Carlos Acajabon Mendez. After receiving an approval of the I-601A provisional waiver, Carlos recently returned from Guatemala, where he received his immigrant visa and entered the U.S. as a permanent resident after more than two decades of living without status in the U.S. Carlos is the most recent BR client to receive an immigrant visa under the I-601A Provisional Waiver program, which permits individuals with approved immigrant relative petitions to seek a waiver of their “inadmissibility” (due to unlawful presence in the U.S.)
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.
Despite the government shutdown, USCIS carries on processing applications and petitions at its glacial pace as usual, including the large number of provisional unlawful presence waiver applications (I-601As) that have been filed since they were first accepted in March 2013, and a corresponding high number of I-130 Immediate Relative Petitions pending approval. We have written on the unlawful presence waiver topic many times, but have been thirsty for statistics and helpful information on the process.
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.
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.