Rule change pushed through executive branch, bypassing congress
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/08/2013 -- Those who are within the United States without proper authorization, but have immediate relatives that are citizens, will now have an easier time gaining permanent residency under a new Obama administration that will affect up to 1 million of the estimated 11 million individuals who reside unlawfully within the United States.
The rule was issued earlier in the week by the Department of Homeland Security, and is aimed at reducing the time illegal immigrants are separated from their U.S. Families while seeking legal status.
Starting on March 4, illegal immigrants who demonstrate that time apart from American family, including spouses, would create “extreme hardship” and can apply for visas without leaving the United States. When the rule is approved, applicants will be required to leave for a short period to pick up the visa.
Sources have stated that the administration may expand the changes to include relatives of lawful permanent residents as well.
The change in rule was proposed in April, and is the latest move by the Obama administration to use executive power in order to revise immigration law without Congress needing to pass it.
"This is a continuation of usurping Congress' control over immigration," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank in Washington that supports tighter controls on immigration. "This waiver rule is a small piece of this broader effort to go around Congress."
The rule will allow families to spend less time apart, lowering it to one week, an official stated. Within recent years, relatives of U.S. Citizens have been murdered or killed in violence within foreign countries while awaiting application resolution.
"It's going to be a better future for me," said Analy Olivas, 21, of Claremont,. Analy crossed the border from Mexico without legal authorization, along with her family, when she was 8-years-old and eventually married a U.S. citizen.
Olivas felt like she could not bear being separated from her 4-year-old son for the extended period it would take for resolution.
"If I kept on going through the process, I was going to have to leave the country. I wasn't ready for it."
"The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon," said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Wait times will be "drastically reduced," Mayorkas said.
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