President Obama to ease Green Card Rules

obama green card

President Obama announced last week that his administration will create a new green card that could spare hundreds of thousands of United States of America citizens from prolonged separations from immigrant spouses and children. Currently, illegal immigrants who are married to or are children of U.S. citizens are generally allowed under the law to become legal residents with a visa known as a green card. However, a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen living illegally in the United States of America must leave the country in order to apply for a green card in their home country, even if they are married to or are children of American citizens.

The problem is, when they leave the United States to apply for a green card in their home country, they are barred from returning to the United States of America for at least three years and up to a decade, even if they are eligible to become legal residents, forcing many illigeal immigrants to stay and live in the United States illegally. Currently, the Citizenship and Immigration Services can provide a waiver from the 3-10 year tough measure if an immigrant has no criminal record, other than for violating immigration laws, and can show his or her absence would cause extreme hardship to a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen. But until now, obtaining such a waiver has been almost as hard and time-consuming as obtaining a regular green card.

New Green Card Process

The Citizenship and Immigration Services proposes to allow the immigrants to obtain a provisional waiver in the United States of America, before they leave for their countries to pick up their green card, if they can show that their absence could cause extreme hardship to a United States of America citizen. Having the waiver in hand will allow the illegal immigrant to depart knowing that they will almost certainly be able to return to the United States. The Citizenship and Immigration Services will streamline the process to cut down the wait times for visas (green cards) to a few weeks at most. That would substantially reduce the time that the United States citizen is separated from the spouse or child when that separation would yield an extreme hardship.

The U.S. government received approximately 23,000 hardship applications in 2011 and more than 70 percent were approved.

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