Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now! (36101)

With the presidential elections now less than 10 months away, a lot was made recently of the Obama administration’s proposed change to the process for certain waivers for the undocumented.

At first glance, and looking at the initial media reports, one might be convinced that the move was designed to really help those struggling “illegals” who may be lucky enough to find a parent, child or spouse to petition for them after many years of being in the shadows and overstaying their visas for three or more years. The truth is that the move means very little and simply boils down to much ado about nothing.

Here is the reality many have missed in their haste to report this as a positive for the administration or to paint it as amnesty, depending on which side of the fence their loyalty lies.

As U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas pointed out at a recent news conference, once the familial relationship between the spouse or son or daughter has been established by the USCIS, the undocumented person being petitioned for will have to leave the United States after applying for a “Waiver of Inadmissibility.” This includes showing medical, financial and perhaps emotional hardship of separation.

This is almost a con game-a con game to convince people to leave and take a gamble on the great USCIS, which admitted that of the 23,000 applications for waivers received in 2011, only about 17,000 were approved.

As Mayorkas himself said, “if and only if” the waiver is considered based on the fact that the grounds for inadmissibility is unlawful presence and the separation between that individual and a U.S. citizen would be an extreme hardship on the citizen relative, only then would the migrant be able to have a visa issued and re-enter the country.

Here comes the other slammer-if a U.S. citizen child turns 21 and requests a waiver or tries to sponsor his or her undocumented parents, the hardship waiver will not apply since this waiver only allows you to show extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, and the qualifying relative has to be the parent of a dependent or spouse.

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Yet this move is being applauded across the board.

The fact is that with over 1 million rounded up and deported by Obama’s administration since he took office, this is just another move to coyly rid the country of “illegals.”

The silver lining here, however, is that this move has only been made as a notice of intent, and the proposed rule will be published for public comment and will go through various types of technicalities. Hopefully, immigrant voters and advocates will make their voices heard urgently to the USCIS and Obama on this issue so that the hard-working, morally sound undocumented, who have been contributing to this country for many years, are not hoodwinked into self-deportation.

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.