Obama administration officials announced on Friday that they will propose a fix to a notorious snag in immigration law that will spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from immigrant spouses and children. [See aren't they so nice,see they really do care.][sarc mine]
The change that immigration officials are offering would benefit United States citizens who are married to or have children who are illegal immigrants. It would correct a bureaucratic Catch-22 that those Americans now confront when their spouses or children apply to become legal permanent residents.
Although the tweak that officials of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services are proposing appears small, immigration lawyers and advocates for immigrants say it will make a great difference for countless Americans. Thousands will no longer be separated from loved ones, they said, and the change could encourage Americans to come forward to apply to bring illegal immigrant family members into the legal system.
Illegal immigrants who are married to or are children of American citizens are generally allowed under the law to become legal residents with a visa known as a green card. But the law requires most immigrants who are here illegally to return to their home countries in order to receive their legal visas.
The catch is that once the immigrants leave the United States, they are automatically barred from returning to this country for at least three years, and often for a decade, even if they are fully eligible to become legal residents.
The immigration agency can provide a waiver from those tough measures, if the immigrants can show that their absence would cause “extreme hardship” to a United States citizen. But until now, obtaining the waiver was almost as hard and time-consuming as obtaining a green card.
Entire Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/us/path-to-green-card-for-illegal-immigrant-family-members-of-americans.html?_r=1