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Immigration rule change will help mixed-status families

In our December 27 post, we wrote about mixed status families. These are families in which some members have U.S. citizenships while others remain undocumented immigrants. It can be very difficult for these families when the family members who are undocumented face the risk of deportation. And that risk sometimes seems to increase, not decrease, when the undocumented family members apply to adjust their status.

Fortunately, a recent rule change in federal immigration law will help Minnesota immigrants who are seeking status adjustments of this type. Prior to this change, undocumented U.S. residents were required to return to their home country to apply before they could apply for a visa to remain in the U.S. The change is due to take effect next month.

Obviously, for a husband or wife who is facing being separated from a spouse, and possibly from children, returning to the home country is a huge hurdle. And the hurdle is often made higher by breakdowns in the application process in the home country. The only exception U.S. law has allowed until now is a provisional waiver based on “extreme hardship.”

Beginning in March, however, a rule change issued by the Homeland Security department will allow undocumented people to initiate the immigration waiver process in the U.S. They will no longer be required to return to their native countries.

Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin recently wrote about one family that will benefit from the rule change. The husband arrived in the U.S. on a green card and became a naturalized citizen. But his wife, whom he met in the U.S., was undocumented. Their three children were born here and are U.S. citizens. But their mother still was not.

Under the rule change, the mother will be spared the perilous journey to the Mexican consulate in Juarez. She can apply for an immigration waiver right here in Minnesota.

Source: “Tevlin: Mother’s path to citizenship is becoming less arduous,” Star Tribune, Jon Tevlin, 1-12-13

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on family-based immigration.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We can help.

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