PASCO, Wash. - A recent change in U.S. immigration rules aims to make it easier to keep American citizens together with their illegal immigrant spouses and children.
Before this change illegal immigrants seeking a green card were required to leave the country before they could ask the federal government to waive a three to ten year bar from America. Under the new rule, a U.S. citizen can petition for a waiver while the immigrant stays in the country waiting for a decision.
It's expected to save months of time in waiting and shorten separation from loved ones.
Attorney Tom Roach said this is just a piece of a larger puzzle.
"The Obama Administration can do some of these kinds of things and that's what they're doing. If they can't get comprehensive immigration reform they're going to keep doing stuff like this. There's other things they can do like this," Roach said.
This change is the most recent result of President Barack Obama's changing immigration policy. Last year he put the Deferred Action Plan in place. Some have criticized these moves, saying the efforts are offering 'backdoor amnesty' to illegals.
This latest rule change goes into effect March 4th.