Temporary visa program for illegal immigrants begins

Qualification for the temporary status is very limited, as the waivers are only available to immediate family members of American citizens – children, spouses and parents. 

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If the waiver is approved, the immigrant must still attend a “consular interview” at the U.S. consulate abroad before receiving the visa – as they do under current law – but this new process cuts down the time that families are separated. 

As the rule was being considered, the USCIS received more than 5,000 comments. Only about 3,700 of those are currently public, and are mostly from citizens and individuals. 

Over the summer, a handful of members of Congress submitted comments to the initial proposal as well, including Reps. Jared Polis (D-Co.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Mike Honda (D-Calif.). As a whole, they supported most of the proposals, but worried about how narrow the regulations could be.