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Friday, January 6, 2012

Immigration Waiver Process Change Will Keep Some Families Together

January 6, 2012

Immigration Waiver Process Change Will Keep Some Families Together

OR Immigrant Rights Organization Applauds New Regulation for Stateside Processing of Family Unity Waivers and Calls on Administration to Extend Process to Legal Permanent Residents

Salem, Ore.--Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new regulation that will direct certain visa applicants to file their applications for family unity waivers within the U.S., to be adjudicated by a specially trained and designated team of professionals.

Currently, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents face unnecessary and dangerous bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining lawful permanent resident status for their spouse or child. Those applying for a Visa would either need to return to their country of origin or apply for a waiver to be able to remain in the U.S. while completing the Visa process. Getting a waiver can take weeks, months or even over a year to be completed. Meanwhile, families are separated and spouses and children are forced to wait in potentially dangerous situations until a waiver decision is made.

The new procedures announced today will only apply to U.S. citizen spouses and children, who will still have to meet the burden of showing that a lengthy bar from the U.S. would cause their U.S. citizen spouse or parent “extreme hardship”. This welcome development will allow husbands, wives and children of U.S. citizens to remain united with their family members while awaiting a decision on their waiver.

“We applaud today’s announcement by DHS”, said Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of Causa, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Organization. “This is a much needed change in the current flawed policy – making it one that favors keeping families together. For far too long, families were going through this process separated from one another, and often being placed in dangerous situations. Today’s announcement is another welcome step forward in moving toward a fair and humane immigration process. We look forward to the Obama Administration and Congress continuing to improve our immigration system for immigrants and families.”

The new regulation does not apply to lawful permanent residents, many whose spouses and children face the same obstacles and dangers when required to wait abroad for their waiver adjudications. Causa joins with leaders and organizations around the nation in calling on the Obama Administration to extend the process to legal permanent residents.

Francisco Lopez, Causa's Executive Director will be available for interviews today. He can be reached at 503-269-5694 or at


Causa, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Organization, is the largest Hispanic civil and human rights and grassroots advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit


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