FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2016
Kemi Bello, kbello [at] ilrc.org, (415) 321-8568
The ILRC Applauds USCIS Final Rule Expanding I-601A Provisional Waiver Process
Waiver Expansion Will Allow Over 100,000 Eligible Immigrants to More Safely Pursue Permanent Residence
WASHINGTON, DC — Friday’s final rule announcement by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a much-needed administrative solution that will help prevent the separation of thousands of immigrant families.
Thousands of immigrants currently eligible for permanent residence through a family member are required to leave the United States to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy in their country of origin. For many, this journey triggers a technical bar in their case for which a waiver is required. This bar would prohibit them from returning to the U.S. for a period of three or ten years. To date, waiting to present the waiver at the time of the interview meant any delay or problem with the application could result in applicants being trapped abroad, unable to return to their families, jobs, and home.
Last week’s announcement removes this threat of family separation. The expansion of the provisional or ‘stateside’ waiver allows eligible immigrants to apply for the waiver in advance of travel abroad, ensuring an applicant can attend their appointment without the looming fear of family separation.
This final rule builds upon a process started in 2013 and over the next ten years, USCIS estimates that over half a million individuals will secure permanent lawful status through the overall process.
“With so few legal options available to immigrant families under current policy, it is critical that those who are eligible to become permanent residents can do so without facing unreasonable barriers. The expansion of this streamlined process allows more families to step forward and pursue permanent residence without the fear of extended separation from their loved ones,” said Allison Davenport, California Central Valley-based Staff Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
The new rule will go into effect on August 29, 2016, and the ILRC is prepared to educate legal service providers across the country on these changes, first through a webinar scheduled for August 18, 2016 at 11:00am PST with additional trainings and materials soon to follow. The ILRC strongly encourages those in the immigrant community who may benefit from the new rule to seek assistance from a qualified legal service provider.
While the ILRC applauds the administration’s willingness to create a more humane waiver process, we continue to call for deeper reform that will remove bureaucratic barriers imposed on immigrant families resulting from changes made to immigration laws in 1996. We remain committed to advocating for inclusive immigration policies that embrace the values of equal treatment and family unity.
About the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, law enforcement, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. www.ilrc.org