Category Archives: Immigration Reform News

Immigrant Visa Application

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes changes to expand the provisional stateside waiver process

Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule change in the Federal Register to streamline and expand the provisional stateside waiver process.  This is part of a multi-step immigration process for eligible individuals to become permanent residents of the United States.

The current provisional waiver process is only available to intending immigrants, now living in the United States, with a six month or longer period of unlawful presence in the US, who have spouses or parents that are United States citizens. Until three years ago, all intending immigrants had to have an interview in their own country first before applying for waivers based on prior violations of the immigration laws.  This caused very long delays and lengthy separations from family members in the United States while the intending immigrant waited outside the US.  The change three years ago allowed some eligible people to file a waiver only for the unlawful presence provisions prior to departing from the United States for consular processing rather than applying for a waiver abroad after the immigrant visa interview. That change enabled a more streamlined and family friendly process – thus significantly shortening the period of separation while completing the process to becoming a resident of the United States.

DHS now proposes to expand the current provisional waiver process in two ways.

First, DHS will eliminate current limitations on the provisional waiver process that restrict eligibility to certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. With the proposed changes, the provisional waiver process will be made available to family-sponsored immigrants, employment-based immigrants, certain special immigrants, and Diversity Visa program selectees, together with their derivative spouses and children.

Second, DHS proposes to expand the provisional waiver process by eliminating the current restriction that limits “extreme hardship” to U.S. citizen spouses or parents. Under this proposed rule, an applicant for a provisional waiver would be permitted to establish the eligibility requirement of showing extreme hardship to lawful permanent resident spouses or parents as well.

For further details on this proposed rule change go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-07-22/html/2015-17794.htm

Murphy Law Firm will publish more information such as the date the changes will take effect as soon as the details are announced.

Supreme Court Legalizes Same Sex Marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court announced a decision today legalizing same sex marriage throughout the United States. This is a constitutional right protected under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses. Religious institutions, however, still have a first amendment right to advocate against same sex marriages.

The Constitution applies to all persons in the United States, citizens and non-citizens alike. The immigrant community is included in these protections and rights. With the decision announced today, Immigration benefits cannot be denied in any state on the basis of same-sex marriages.

USICS is Not Accepting Applications for the New DACA, old DACA from 2012 still in Effect

Implementation of the new DACA and DAPA programs has been temporarily suspended. Last week, on February 17, a federal court judge decided the President’s programs were illegal.

However, the President’s DACA and DAPA programs are not illegal. Nearly every President for the past 40 years, Republican and Democrat, has used executive action for immigration matters.

The Justice Department is filing an appeal with a federal appeals court in New Orleans this week. The Department of Homeland Security is still planning to implement both programs as soon as the court process allows.

The existing DACA process and renewals of DACA are not affected by the recent court action. Murphy Law Firm will post updates when changes occur.

The Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals starts in February

The expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) begins on February 18, 2015. On that day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications under the expanded guidelines announced by the President in November of 2014. The DACA program grants a period of deferred action for eligible individuals who entered the U.S. before the age of 16. With deferred action, the government agrees to issue an Employment Authorization card and not deport an individual.

Eligibility under the new DACA program includes the following changes:

  • There is no age limitation, the applicant no longer has to have been born before Jun 15, 1981;
  • Applicants must prove continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 (the prior continuous presence date was June 15, 2007).
  • Approved applicants will receive deferred action and work authorization for three years instead of two.

All other DACA guidelines remain the same. To find out if you qualify under the new program, please schedule a consultation.

See the full requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.