Undocumented family members of US citizens will soon get a chance to apply for hardship waivers. Such family members need not stay in their home countries for a long time while they apply for lawful status in the United States and they just need to get back to their native countries to collect their immigrant visas. However, family members of all the US citizens may not become eligible for this waiver and only the immediate relatives of US citizens who are capable of establishing that their US citizen relatives will suffer extreme hardship if they are sent back to their home countries, will become eligible for this waiver.
Lucio, an undocumented immigrant, is the spouse of Vera who is a US citizen. He entered into the United States illegally and he got married to Vera who is a US citizen. He currently works as a painter in Houston, where Vera was born and brought up. Vera who suffers from PTSD is a victim of sexual abuse and she has suffered severe physical and mental abuse. Lucio learned English in less than three years and now speaks good English. He says that he loves the United States and says that he wishes to make the country his permanent home. He also wants to contribute to the growth of the country and he got his Tax ID number as soon as he started to work, as he wanted to legally pay his taxes.
Lucio always wanted to obtain US citizenship and remain in the country lawfully but due to the country’s strict immigration laws and due to the fear of deportation, he decided to remain as an undocumented immigrant. Vera was always worried, as she felt that she may not be able to lead her life and look after her business, without Lucio. Vera says that the new hardship waiver will definitely make a difference and Lucio’s immigration lawyer, Sarah Monty says that Lucio’s waiver will be approved. There are many such mixed-status families in the United States like that of Lucio and this change will help the American families as this waiver will reduce the time family members are separated.
At present, eligible dependents of US citizens who are ineligible for adjustment of status and who are ineligible for US Green Cards will have to leave the country and apply for and obtain immigrant visas in their native countries. According to the new rule, people who have overstayed their visas and who are in the country as undocumented immigrants, may obtain waivers before leaving the country. This rule will help the mixed-status families but this rule does not apply to immediate relatives of permanent residents and the undocumented parents of US citizen children. However, USCIS has also announced that the details provided by the undocumented relatives of US citizens will not be used to deport them.