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Last month, I reported the elimination of the widow penalty through H.R.2892. But the 2010 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act goes a step further in allowing the surviving beneficiaries of all approved family and employment-based petitions to be protected as “survivors” and allow them to continue their applications for adjustment of status despite the death of the original petitioner.
This is a crucial fix in immigration law because due to long immigration waits, original petitioners sometimes pass away, leaving entire families in perpetual limbo. Additionally, under the new law, if the principle beneficiary passes away while the petition is pending, the spouse and derivative beneficiaries can still immigrate. If the family is abroad, then they can request a reinstatement of the visa petition on “humanitarian” grounds.
Specifically, these are the categories affected by the new legislation:
(A) the beneficiary of a pending or approved petition for classification as an immediate relative (as described in section 201(b)(2)(A)(i));
(B) the beneficiary of a pending or approved petition for classification under section 203 (a) or (d);
(C) a derivative beneficiary of a pending or approved petition for classification under section 203(b) (as described in section 203(d));
(D) the beneficiary of a pending or approved refugee/asylee relative petition under section 207 or 208;
(E) an alien admitted in `T’ nonimmigrant status as described in section 101(a)(15)(T)(ii) or in `U’ nonimmigrant status as described in section 101(a)(15)(U)(ii); or
(F) an asylee (as described in section 208(b)(3)).’.
President Obama is widely expected to sign the legislation soon. Actual interpretation of this bill and guidelines on how to claim relief under Sec. 568 will come from USCIS after passage of the bill.
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