Proposed immigration rule change would shorten wait time for some

By Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio

St. Paul, Minn. – The federal government is proposing a rule change that would shorten family separations for people trying to fix their immigration status.

Under the change, immigrants would still need to leave the U.S., but if their absence imposes an extreme hardship on a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, they could apply for a waiver to shorten the process to days or weeks, said Alejandro Majorakas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director.

Currently, people who are in the country illegally and married to U.S. citizens must return to their home country to apply for a waiver to re-enter. Families can be separated for six months or more, according to the U.S.C.I.S.

“The goal is to reduce the time of separation and alleviate the extreme hardship to a United States citizen as the law currently intends,” Majorakas.

The head of Minnesota’s Immigrant Law Center welcomed the change, calling it good news that should help many people.