Another positive development included in the President’s administrative reforms to U.S. immigration laws is the proposed expansion of the provisional waiver program, which the President initiated in 2013. The provisional waiver, as initially introduced allowed the spouses and children of U.S. citizens to seek a waiver of inadmissibility for the three and ten year bars due to unlawful presence to seek a waiver in the U.S. rather than after proceeding abroad to seek a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. This program has been successful and we have had several provisional waivers approved and been lucky to witness reunions made possible by the provisional waiver.
The provisional waiver was initially limited only to spouses and children of American citizens. The new memo instructs CIS to “expand access to the provisional waiver to all statutorily eligible classes of relative for whom an immigrant visa is immediately available.” This will clearly include the spouses and children of permanent residents, but could also potentially include a larger group of individuals such as the adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
Also, for tremendous significance, the Secretary of Homeland Security has directed the CIS to “clarify the factors that are considered by adjudicators in determining whether the “extreme hardship” standard has been met. Most importantly, the Secretary has directed CIS to consider whether a legal presumption of extreme hardship may be determined to exist. The creation of the presumption of hardship would reduce the burden on applicants seeking to show extreme hardship. We particularly love this idea, because we suggested it here while pointing out the legal authority for such a move.
Benach Ragland is offering reduced fee consultations for individuals who may be covered by any of these reforms. To schedule an appointment, please call 202-644-8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn the latest news on this blog, on our Facebook page and can follow us on Twitter: @BenachRagland.