Thursday, April 05, 2012

Family Values

Earlier in the year, the Obama administration announced that some new rules on immigration would be formulated. On Monday, one new rule was posted for public comment, and the right wing anti-immigrant people went wild. Media Matters details just how crazy things got.

Right-wing media have attacked a proposed Obama administration rule change that would reduce the amount of time required for undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to apply for residency as "stealth amnesty" by a "lawless regime." But the proposed rule change would allow eligible immigrants to obtain a lawful return visa without a long separation from their families...

The post details the hateful spewings of the usual suspects: Judicial Watch, the Drudge Report, Fox Nation. Go visit the post at Media Matters to view the nonsense crap being "reported" and links to those sources. I decline to post too much of either. I'd rather post a link to the Federal Register which sets forth the actual rule change and rationale behind it.

DHS proposes to change its current process for the filing and adjudication of certain waivers of inadmissibility for qualifying immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, who are physically present in the United States, but must proceed abroad to obtain their immigrant visas. DHS proposes to allow qualifying immediate relatives to apply for a provisional waiver of their inadmissibility for unlawful presence while they are still in the United States and before they leave to attend their immigrant visa interview abroad.

Approving an application for a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to the immediate relative's immigrant visa interview will allow the DOS consular officer to issue the immigrant visa without delay if there are no other grounds of inadmissibility and if the immediate relative otherwise is eligible to be issued an immigrant visa. The immediate relative would not have to wait abroad during the period when USCIS adjudicates his or her waiver request, but rather could remain in the United States with his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent during that period. As a result, U.S. citizens' separation from their immediate relatives would be significantly reduced. In addition, given the greater certainty that will result from this process, U.S. citizens and their family members would also be able to better plan for the immediate relative's departure and eventual return to the United States.
[Emphasis added]

In other words, parents and/or spouses who are not here legally are being given a chance to expedite a determination on their status, in some cases, without leaving the country. They still have to go through the process, but will not have to be separated from their families for extended periods of time. This hardly looks like amnesty. What it does do is open a channel for those who have not entered the process because of the length of time and the expense involved an opportunity to make things right.

If the only "crime" involved is over-staying a visa, what's the harm? If the undocumented immigrant is the primary bread-winner for the family, or the only parent of an American born child, a lengthy separation doesn't do anything but punish harshly those left behind. The rule change would keep families intact.

The "family values" folks don't quite see it that way. Apparently only all-American families are valuable in their eyes. That certainly comes as no surprise, especially since it involves people with darker skins or differently shaped eyes.

The rule change has been posted by DHS for the mandatory period for public comment. You might want to wander over to the Federal Register for more information on how to enter your comment in the discussion. You can bet the usual suspects have been sending their minions over.

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