Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday new rules that will allow many American citizens to avoid long separations from immediate family members who are in the country illegally as they apply to become legal residents.
Typically, once illegal immigrants leave this country, they are barred automatically from returning for at least three and as many as 10 years. Under the new rules, a qualifying person may apply for the family unity waiver in the U.S. without having to worry about the 3/10 year unlawful presence bar. Also under the former rules, Americans were faced with the prospect of being separated for up to a decade from immigrant spouses, children or parents who were applying for the legal documents known as green cards. Officials estimated the time immigrants would have to spend out of the country would be reduced to “a matter of weeks.”
This new change to the immigration process is only permitted to undocumented immigrants who can prove that their immediate family members would suffer "extreme hardship" in their absence and come up with the $585 application fee for the waiver, among other criteria.
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