We have spoken extensively about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Obama started in 2012. This program allowed young people who were brought to the country outside of the immigration system to receive a work permit and a deferral from deportation. The program has worked well and many immigrants appreciate the work the president has done on behalf of this large group of immigrants (although many also don’t think he has gone far enough), but it has also had some unforeseen consequences.
Take, for example, American citizens trying to sponsor immediate relatives for green cards. One of the benefits of being an American citizen is that they can bring their parents (if the citizen is over 21 years old), their children and their spouses to the United States and get them permanent residency with relative ease. Not only that, but there is no cap on how many immediate relatives will be given green cards every year. It sounds like a great program, right?
The problem that many Americans are finding, however, is that the deferral program has shifted immigration officials away from immediate relatives, causing significant delays in how long it takes to process an application for a green card. And, since someone waiting for a green card application to go through cannot visit the United States on a tourist visa, many citizens are spending an inordinately long time away from their families.
Of course, if an application to sponsor an immediate relative is not complete or completed incorrectly, it only delays the process even further. Working with a family immigration lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure that families can be reunited as quickly as possible.
Source: The New York Times, “Program Benefiting Some Immigrants Extends Visa Wait for Others,” Julia Preston, Feb. 8, 2014