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Policy Change To Ease Green Card Process For Undocumented Spouses Of U.S. Citizens

Jacob Sapochnick, a San Diego immigration attorney, and Raquel Coronado, a green card applicant, talk to KPBS about a change in immigration policy that will make it easier for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to wait for green cards here in the U.S., rather than back in their home country.

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Photo by Yance Nunez

Photo credit: Facebook

Yance Nunez and Raquel Coronado are a married couple living in San Diego. Nunez is a U.S. Citizen and Coronado was born in Mexico. Nunez says the new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rule, which makes it easier for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to wait for green cards here in the U.S., rather than back in their home country, will help his family.

A change in immigration policy that may seem minor to most Americans, is likely to have a major impact of tens of thousands of families across the nation.

The new rule, that takes effect this March, will make it easier for undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to wait for green cards here in the U.S., rather than back in their home country.

Jacob Sapochnick, a San Diego immigration attorney, says in order to obtain a waiver, the applicant must demonstrate their absence would cause “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative such as a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen.

The policy is designed to help keep families together, while the often long process of documentation is completed.

This change will make a big difference for some San Diego families. Raquel Coronado and Yance Nunez are a married couple who will be affected by the policy change.

Nunez is in the Army. He says he already applied for a "waiver of parole" through the military.

He says the approval of the I-601A waiver will be a fall-back option for his family if they don't get approved for the parole in place waiver.

In an email to KPBS, he wrote, "I cannot go with my wife to the immigration interview because the military does not allow us to enter into Juarez, Mexico. Not only that but if Raquel were to go to Juarez alone I would not be able to care for our two children while working full-time in the Army."

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