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October 2009 Archives


Congress approved an end to the “widow penalty” last week. Formerly the Immigration Service cancelled a permanent residence application for a surviving immigrant spouse of a U.S. citizen if the U.S. citizen spouse died before the marriage had lasted two full years. Congress sought to change this rigid law denying an immigrant surviving spouse the opportunity to prove the marriage had been entered into in good faith. The President has indicated he will sign the bill this coming week. Now a widowed immigrant spouse, in spite of the death of the U.S. citizen spouse, may apply for permanent residence by adducing evidence of the good faith of the marriage with the proviso that the petitioning immigrant has not remarried. This legislation rights a wrong that has existed for years, and prevents the hitherto harsh reality of an immigrant losing his/her spouse and then suffer deportation as well.
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