Illegal immigrants in Colorado seize upon new visa waiver

Article subtitle: 
Alejandro Esparza texted his wife a smiley face Wednesday
Article author: 
Nancy Lofholm
Article publisher: 
Denver Post
Article date: 
6 January 2013
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

The occasion for the momentous digital grin was a small change in a convoluted immigration regulation. On paper, that change may seem like an insignificant reform, but for American families of certain illegal immigrants such as Esparza, it represents a new opportunity to obtain a green card without tearing loved ones apart.

Under the old rules, Esparza, who entered the United States illegally when he was 15 years old, would have had to return to his home country of Mexico to apply for a waiver from being barred re-entry to the United States. The waiver would be based on the hardship his absence would create for his wife in Denver ...

The changed regulation, announced last week by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, makes it possible to apply for the waiver without leaving the country. Immigrants still have to return to a home country to complete the process and pick up a visa, but they can go with the waiver in hand and the prospect that they will be away for weeks, not months or years ....

"We are disappointed that the rules change does not apply to spouses of legal permanent residents and adult children of U.S. citizens, as they are often the caregivers. We hope that, as the changes are implemented, the administration will see the wisdom in expanding the hardship waivers to these critical family members," said Eliseo Medina of Service Employees International Union. (SEIU)  ...

(American Immigration Lawyers Association president Laura Lichter) Lichter was also disappointed there is no provision in the new rules to help families that can't pay the $585 filing fee.


CAIRCO Research

* December 12, 2012
Federal authorities say nearly two dozen illegal immigrants arrested this week paid smugglers up to $9,000 each for a seagoing trip on a panga boat to the United States.




* December 7, 2012
The occupants told federal agents they paid between $2,000 and 5,000 to be smuggled across the border.

* November 21, 2012
Authorities say the suspects admitted to paying up to $4,000 each to be smuggled into the U.S.