The U.S. immigration system is a capricious and convoluted bureaucracy. Take, for example, the rules that children and spouses of U.S. citizens must navigate to legalize their status.
Currently, immigrants who qualify for a visa, and ultimately a green card, must return to their homelands to receive it. The problem is that the moment they leave the United States, they trigger automatic sanctions that bar them from returning for up to 10 years. Some can secure waivers to reenter, but only if they demonstrate that their absence will create extreme hardship to a parent or spouse who is a U.S. citizen.
That's an untenable choice: leave the U.S. and run the risk of being separated from a spouse for years, or stay and live in fear of deportation.
Last week, the Obama administration proposed a simple solution. The Citizenship and Immigration Service laid out a rule change that would allow immigrants who are eligible for a green card to remain in the country while they apply for the hardship waiver. They would then be required to return to their birth country to receive the visa, but with the waiver in hand, they would not be barred from reentering the United States. The rule would likely go into effect later this year, after the public has been allowed to comment.