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Permanent Residence

Part of the New Changes to the Immigration Law

In 2013 new pathways for residence have been offered to undocumented immigrants by the President and the Supreme Court. Perhaps as well Congress may pass an amnesty that could lead the way for the green card for 11 million undocumented individuals.

The most recent pathway for permanent residency was given last week by the Supreme Court by its decision that the Defense of Marriage Act in California (DOMA) was unconstitutional because it treated unequally heterosexual and homosexual marriages. The next day, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the Immigration Service would respect homosexual marriages as equal to heterosexual marriages. This will mean American citizens in same sex marriages may obtain for their undocumented spouses the same benefits that have been afforded to heterosexual marriages. This will be conferring permanent residence on hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who are and/or marrying U.S. citizens and will enable these undocumented individuals to have the green card.

Earlier in 2013 by Executive Order the President granted the right to U.S. citizens to apply for Waivers for their undocumented spouses who had entered the U.S. without visas. The Waivers may now be considered by the Immigration Service in the U.S. instead of at a U.S. Consulate abroad. When an alien spouse formerly had to get a Wavier he/she had to wait in their country while the Waiver was pending. This created extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen spouse and his/her U.S. children because the immigrant spouse who had illegally been in the U.S. were separated for as much as one or two years in their country which resulted in extreme hardship for the U.S. spouse well as the children in the U.S. The President issued this Executive Order to avoid this unnecessary separation

At the end of 2012 the President also issued an Executive Order to allow undocumented aliens who entered the U.S. under the age of 16 and who have been in the U.S. more than 5 years and who have completed high school or its equivalent to obtain permission to work in order that they could get social security cards and thereby enable them to find work and/or go to school. This program known as the Dream Act or Deferred Action granted 2 years to stay here and will most probably enable these “dreamers” to obtain permanent residence. These “dreamers” who entered into the U.S. when they were minors under the age of 16 t were brought by family members. These youngsters were basically innocent and there was no law to help them. The Dream Act or Deferred Action now affords them a path to permanent status.

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