Although congress has all but halted in moving forward with Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), small-bore immigration persist on at an administrative level. These minor actions can be contributed to part of Obama’s measures to keep pressure on congress in developing CIR.
Recently on November 14th, 2013 USCIS released a new policy ruling that permits all immediate family members of any U.S. citizen to avoid deportation if they have overstayed any lawful admission as defined by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This new policy is more flexible and allows these individuals to apply for an adjustment of status.
Although this new decision is certainly beneficial to these individuals, it comes with certain stipulations. According the USCIS memo, this privilege will not be made available when:
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has previously given a removal order; UNLESS the removal order is either withdrawn or rescinded.
- The individual applying is under any sort of investigation, has been arrested or has been convicted of any major public safety offense.
- The applicant’s case is believed to be fraudulent OR: raises national security issues which may require resolution.
This new policy change is expected to have a small impact as it is limited to immediate family members of U.S. citizens only and furthermore is limited to a smaller group of individuals who entered from VWP countries which are generally the U.S. or other developed Western European countries. Additional VWP countries include Austrailia, Brunie, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
This action is not the major push that CIR needs however it should be viewed as progress on the immigration forefront nonetheless