Wednesday, June 10, 2009

U.S. temporarily stops deportation of widows of US citizens

Photo of Weeping Widow statue used under Creative Commons from TenThirtyNine.

A U.S. Citizen can petition for his/her alien spouse to come to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident ("LPR" aka "Green Card holder"). Generally, if they have been married less than two years, the spouse is allowed to come to the United States "conditionally." The couple must then, within 90 days of the second anniversary of granting of conditional status status, file a petition to removed the conditional status and present evidence that the marriage remains valid. In those sad situations where the U.S. Citizen spouse died before the second anniversary, the conditional LPR widow(er) could face deportation because they no longer met the eligibility requirements. Today, the Department of Homeland Security temporarily stopped this practice. In a press release, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said:

“Smart immigration policy balances strong enforcement practices with common-sense, practical solutions to complicated issues... Granting deferred action to the widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who otherwise would have been denied the right to remain in the United States allows these individuals and their children an opportunity to stay in the country that has become their home while their legal status is resolved.”

This decision makes sense. The decision is only temporary, however. Indeed, today's Wall Street Journal goes into the issue in more detail.

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