President Obama’s backdoor amnesties are the political version of death by a thousand cuts. Prosecutorial discretion (2011), followed by deferred action for childhood arrivals (2012) and now, as reported on CAPS’ homepage, permanent residency for illegal aliens who are “closely related” to American citizens adds up to amnesty for hundreds of thousands of people who knowingly violated U. S. immigration laws. [New Rule Allows Illegal Immigrants Related to U.S. Citizens to Apply for Residency While Here, by Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, January 2, 2012]
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, President Obama’s surrogate for rewriting immigration law without congressional approval, announced that effective March 3 the administration will allow qualified people to apply for a provisional unlawful-presence waiver before leaving the United States to obtain their visas. Accordingly, the amount of time the applicants will have to spend outside the U.S. will be significantly reduced.
Explained another way, the alien no longer has to leave the country for at least three but possibly ten years (pursuant to a 1996 statute) before re-entering with a valid visa. With his unlawful-presence waiver in hand, the alien can arrange his paperwork while residing legally in the U.S. Once his documentation is in order, he could spend as little as a day abroad. The waiver fee is $585.
A major consideration is that the aliens must prove that being separated from their relatives presents an “extreme hardship.” Apparently, that’s not hard to do since DHS approved more than 70 percent of hardship claims aliens made in 2011.
To some, the latest DHS concession may appear benign. But easing the conditions under which aliens with relatives can become permanent residents has long been open borders fanatic Congressman Luis Guitierrez’s goal. Read Gutierrez’s position here.
DHS promotes its new policy as family friendly and, quoting Napolitano, “facilitates the legal immigration process.”
In truth, the unlawful-presence waiver is alien friendly and encourages more illegal immigration. Anyone can make a compelling case that their family depends on them, emotionally if not financially. With the wavier readily available, aliens have one more reason not to take U.S. immigration laws seriously.