Relatives of Residents and people with DEPORTATION orders may apply BY NICOLÁS OLANO
One of the toughest immigration laws in American history was enacted in the year 1996. It created a bar to reentry for those who lived illegally in the United States for more than 180 consecutive days. Those who remained more than 180 days were barred from reentering the country for three years. Those who remained more than one consecutive year were barred for ten years. This is known as the three- and ten-year bar, and it begins when a person leaves the United States. Combined with the prohibition for individuals who entered the United States illegally to adjust their status, this meant that people would have to be outside the US for up to ten years before being able to come back. Also, the waiver for the bar had to be led at a consulate and took years to be approved. Cognizant of this problem, Congress enacted Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allowing those who had entered illegally to become residents inside the country. Unfortunately, Section 245(i) has not been reenacted since 2001.
To solve this problem, the Obama administration passed an executive order allowing for the processing of the illegal presence bar-waiver in the US. This allows persons subject to the bar to wait in the US instead of having to leave. Initially, only immediate relatives of American citizens were covered by the waiver. Now, the administration expanded the waiver to those whose relatives are legal permanent residents and to persons who have a final order of removal (a deportation order).
To obtain the waiver, the person needs an immediate relative who is a US citizen or resident, and the relative must experience extreme hardship on account of the absence of their spouse, parent or child. Extreme hardship encompasses the negative social, economic, emotional and health effects that come from a long separation. These problems are summed up to determine if there is extreme hardship. Evidence used may consist of doctors’ letters, tax returns, school records or any other document that shows hardship to the family member. Once the waiver is approved, the person can go to their country and receive their green card (a US Permanent Resident Card) in days or weeks instead of years. So if you, a friend, or a family member are in a situation like this, take advantage of these regulations and consult an experienced immigration attorney in order to review your case.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska