Last week the Administration advised it is changing the rule for pardons for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. To avoid long separation, visa waivers may be granted here rather than abroad. The visa process in the home country created fear that a pardon could be denied or delayed for months or even years. This uncertainty led many to choose to stay in the U.S. rather than to risk a chance of denial or an extensive delay that would separate them from their families here.
The proof required was to show extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, Consular officers were notorious for being arbitrary or capricious. Congress also has been adamant in refusing to budge to overcome this harsh condition of separating spouses from each other and children from their parents. This will mean now families will stay together with only a few weeks separation.
This procedural rule that changes the place where pardons are granted has eliminated the necessity of Congressional action. It enables the Immigration Service to issue regulations respecting improving the resources and efficiency of the Immigration Service by shortening the separation of family members from each other. This Order would enable hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens to emerge from the shadows because they could apply for the necessary Waivers in the U.S. rather than in their own country. When a Waiver is approved here, the undocumented alien would be assured of a prompt return from abroad to the U.S. to be with their families. This trip need only take weeks the Administration has predicted, not months or years. For the Consular officers, the issue of an undocumented stay in the U.S. would be overcome, and hence enable the Consulate to speedily issue the immigrant visa.