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Administration Making It Easier to Get a Green Card

January 11, 2012
Plain English Version

Immigrants who are in the United States without papers have to leave this country before they can apply for legal residency known as a green card.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are married to illegal immigrants. They are entitled to apply for green cards for their spouses. The problem is that the spouses must return to their home countries to get a visa to come back here. The current rules make them wait for at least three years and up to a decade before they can return. When they get a “waiver,” they can get the visa. The next step is to come home and get a green card.

Getting a green card takes so long and is so complicated that many families live in hiding from the authorities.

The Obama administration is trying to change the rules. They propose that illegal immigrants’ get a “provisional waiver” before they return home to get their visas. This means they almost certainly will be allowed to return to the United States.

The government is also trying to reduce the time spent back in their native lands to only a few weeks. It will take a year before the new rules are effective.

Republicans called the change an “abuse of administrative powers.”

The New York Times


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