The Obama Administration finalized a new rule that expands upon a 2013 rule that waives the 3-year/10-year re-entry bars imposed on illegal aliens once they become eligible for a green card. The policy could encourage the 4.5 million people on the family-based green cards backlog to move to the U.S. illegally while they wait for their green cards to become available.
Under U.S. law, an alien who has been detected living illegally in the U.S. is prohibited from re-entering the country for 3-years or 10-years depending on when they first entered the country illegally. Detained illegal aliens who have been in the country for less than a year are barred from re-entry for 3 years, aliens who have been in the country illegally for over a year are supposed to be barred for 10 years. When an illegal alien becomes eligible for a green card they must return to their home country to receive the green card, but that puts them at risk of being apprehended and subject to the re-entry restrictions.
The 2013 rule allowed certain illegal aliens to apply for a provisional waiver that would let them leave the country to receive their green card without being held accountable for the time they lived in the U.S. illegally. The 2013 rule applied to those illegal aliens who had an immediate relative who was a U.S. citizen and the separation caused by the 3- or 10-year bars would cause “extreme hardship” to the relative.
The updated rule would expand the people eligible for the waiver to all individuals with an approved immigration petition regardless of visa category and would expand the family-based waiver to anyone who had a relative who is a legal permanent resident (LPR) in the U.S.
This means illegal aliens who are seeking employment based immigration petitions, have a relative in the U.S. who is not a citizen but has LPR status, or is eligible to receive a green card through the visa lottery program is now eligible for the waiver.
The expanded rule goes in to effect on August, 29, 2016.
Read the full expanded rule here.