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Immigration Policy and Protection Updates – June 2024

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In June 2024, the Biden administration announced a change to the process to obtain certain marriage-based green cards. The Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families simplifies the green card application process for noncitizens living in the U.S. who are married to U.S. citizens. It may help 500,000 noncitizens and their approximately 50,000 children get green cards.

The administration also announced its intention to streamline the employment authorization process for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and those in similar positions.

If you need help understanding this new process or preparing an application, contact the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh. Our multi-national team is passionate about helping noncitizens, especially as this exciting new program may offer a path to citizenship to so many.

How Did the System Work Before?

The marriage-based green card application process begins with the U.S. sponsor submitting an immigrant visa petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Then, requirements vary.

Usually, green card applicants within the U.S. adjust their status through USCIS, while applicants outside the U.S. must go through consular processing. However, when the noncitizen has spent time in the U.S. without legal status, “unlawful presence,” this process can change.

Adjustment of Status

If you apply from within U.S. borders, you typically get a green card by adjusting your status to a lawful permanent resident (LPR). You cannot usually adjust your status if you lack status. You may lack legal status if you entered the U.S. without passing through a border checkpoint or customs.

Unlawful Presence and Consular Processing

If you have spent time in the U.S. without status, you have likely accrued unlawful presence. You generally have to get a waiver to become eligible for a green card. Neither the waiver nor a pending green card application grants you legal status in the U.S.

As a result, you have to leave to avoid accruing additional unlawful presence. Then, you continue the application process through a U.S. Consulate in your home country, which can take years, during which time you are separated from your loved ones.

How Will the System Work Now?

Under the new process, noncitizen spouses can adjust status if they:

  • Legally married a U.S. citizen on or before June 17, 2024;
  • Entered the U.S. without inspection (EWI);
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. for ten or more continuous years as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have no criminal history preventing them from adjusting status;
  • Pose no threat to public safety or national security;
  • Are not otherwise ineligible to adjust status; and
  • Merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

Unfortunately, this process will not apply to visa overstays.

How Do You Apply for the New Process?

The U.S. government has not yet issued regulations guiding this process. However, it will involve “parole in place.” Parole allows noncitizens to enter or remain in the U.S. for a limited time. Once your parole-in-place application is granted, you may become eligible for employment authorization as well.

How the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh Can Help

Although the new process has not gone into effect yet, the Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh can help you prepare your application to be ready once the process goes live. Contact us today.

Author Photo

Rosina Stambaugh

Rosina C. Stambaugh, founder of The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh in York, brings a wealth of expertise to immigration law. With a focus on removal defense, Ms. Stambaugh has successfully litigated cases across various Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, offering comprehensive support to clients facing diverse immigration challenges. She also represents individuals and families applying for affirmative benefits with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

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