Immigration Relief Available Today
Dear President Obama and Members of Congress:
In the interest of providing ideas in regards to Legal Immigration, I would like to suggest a series of proposals that can be implemented immediately or in a very short period of time, without the need to wait for several months or years, to approve a new immigration reform.
My first proposal is to amend the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which currently provides relief to women and children who are the victims of domestic abuse or who are abandoned by their spouses and who are illegal in the United States, to include a group of people who are also victims of United States citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, that is, women who enter the United States as Fiancées of USC and who obtained approval of a K1 visa or a K3 visa as spouses of United States citizens and who are abused by their partners and then abandoned and loose their legal status with no fault of their own.
Because these women entered into a relationship with the intention of marring that individual in good faith, they should be included in the VAWA law as victims. Also I would like to include women who live with United States citizens or Permanent Residents and who are not married but have children with them and are victims of domestic violence, whether they live in the United States or Abroad, so long as they can prove that there is a bona fide living arraignment amongst them.
Finally and in the same tenure, I would like to modify the VAWA law to include all married women who have a petition and are waiting abroad to obtain their Permanent Resident but who are abused and abandoned by their spouses, even when they have children and to whom their spouses withdraw their applications, even when they married in good faith.
Another proposal that just requires and amendment to the current law is to allow all widows of United States citizens, regardless of how long they have been married, to obtain their legal status as Permanent Residents, as long as they can prove they had a bona fide relationship. The current law requires that the widow must have been married for at least two years and must apply for residence before the end of two years of the death of the United States citizen. As with the VAWA law, a simple modification of the law will suffice, instead of waiting for an Immigration Reform, months or years from now.
Another group of people who need urgent immigration relief are the High School children who graduate every year and cannot enter into a College for lack of legal status, some of them honored students. Congress could revive a Bill proposed in 2006, that would give path to citizenship to high School graduates who agree to complete a College education or to register with the Armed forces of the United States. The Bill would give them a Conditional Residence of two years for completing two years of College and a Permanent Residence if they finished College or continue in the Armed Forces. Why this law is needed and should be discussed by Congress? Because those young men and women who talk and live like United States citizens, will be a great asset to America.
Another practical idea to suggest to President Obama and Congress is to take action on a very sad issue; thousands of people, who have been waiting on line for years, must wait between 4 and 11 years to obtain legal status, something that can be changed with the stroke of a pen.
Just by Congress increasing the annual quota of people allow obtaining permanent residence from the current 226,000 for families and 140,000 for employment per year to a significant 500,000 for families or 300,000 for employment, would allow those families to obtain residence in half the time. This is important because the wife and children of a Legal Permanent Resident must wait a minimum of 4 years, currently for family reunification, which is causing great deal of pain and suffering on families desperate to live together. The same goes on for adult children of USC and brothers or sisters who must wait 11 years for family reunification. With the stroke of a pen, that can be changed to 2 years or 4 or 6 instead of the long wait. The advantage of increasing the quotas is that will allow people who are waiting in line to obtain immediate access to the United States. The same goes to that petition on an employment based, because those people used the legal system to migrate to America and will contribute immediately to the economy.
Another law that can be modified imme diately, if Congress and the President so agree, is the Legal Immigration Equity Family Act (LIFE ACT), which could contribute to immediate family reunification of Legal Permanent Residents and their families. This law was created to allow spouses and minor children of Legal Permanent Residents to obtain a V1 or V2 visa, to migrate immediately to the United States and once in the United States, make adjustment of Status and obtain their residence in the United States instead of waiting for years abroad. The problem is that the law only allows relief for petitions made before 2001. By modifying the law, Congress can make the V visa Permanent as it is the case with the K3 visa of the same law, which allows the spouses and children of United States citizens, to migrate to the United States with such visa and to obtain Permanent Status, once in the United States, in the name of family reunification.
Another proposal that would mean a great deal to lots of people in the United States is to reduce the fee to apply for citizenship, to allow more people in economic distress who want to become United States citizens, to do so with more flexibility.
Finally I would like to ask Congress to increase the annual quota of H1B visas and H2B visas, as a way of encouraging foreigners to use this legal mean to work in the United States, instead of the usual illegal migration.
This proposals are practical and do not need an immigration reform or years to be applied, Just the good will of our President Obama and the Congress of the United States.
Roque Leonel Rodriguez, Esq. is a Member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Colegio de Abogados de la República Dominicana. He specializes in work visas, residency visas, special permissions, American citizenship, and business visas and represents clients at the American Embassy in Santo Domingo. Rodríguez, Esq. has worked as a American immigration professor in the Escuela de Diplomacia de la Chancilleria Dominicana and has been invited to present at many international law workshops at the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. He has a Masters degree in Diplomacy and International Relations. Roque Rodriguez, Esq. has his office located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.