" "

President Obama’s executive action on immigration will have a significant impact on the I-601A provisional waiver program that has been in effect since 2013. Under I-601A, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who otherwise cannot adjust their status because they entered without inspection can file a waiver of the three- or 10-year bars to readmission before they leave for their consular interview. This means that they can apply for a waiver and get an approval before leaving the country for an interview. The program is helpful to many immigrants, but it has a number of flaws. The executive action signed into law by President Obama improves this program in three major ways.

First, the executive action expands the provisional waiver program. Now, people can apply for a stateside waiver of unlawful presence by proving that leaving will cause harm to a lawful permanent resident spouse or parent instead of just U.S. citizens. Adult U.S. citizens may now petition for their parent and the parent can then qualify for the waiver by demonstrating extreme hardship to their lawful permanent resident spouse.

Second, the executive action changes how the USCIS evaluates “extreme hardship.” Many believe the standard will be relaxed and they may even be a presumed hardship in some cases. This will allow more people to qualify for the waiver program.

Third, the executive action created a Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program for certain parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Those who qualify will be able to apply for Advance Parole, which will allow them to leave the country and be paroled back into the country when they are done travelling. This departure will not trigger the three to ten year bar and the person will not have to file a waiver of unlawful presence. They will now be able to adjust their status while in the United States without having to leave for a consular interview abroad and without filing a provisional waiver.

It is not advisable, however, to travel abroad without first seeking legal guidance. There are more opportunities for immigrants to stay and live in the United States without fear of deportation, but these changes do not protect everyone. You need help from a knowledgeable Los Angeles immigration attorney to ensure that the process goes smoothly.