USCIS Recommends Uniform I-601 Waiver Process
By: Harlan York
July 5, 2010

For many who seek to immigrate to the US, and for others here who want to apply for a green card, grounds of inadmissibility can stand in their way.

Inadmissibility based on minor crimes and other small violations can render a foreign national ineligible from entering the US, receiving a green card, and obtaining citizenship.

Certain folks are eligible to apply for I-601 waivers of these grounds, based on “extreme hardship” to family.

Herein lie the biggest flaws in the process:

  • How long do we have to wait?
  • What is “extreme hardship?”

We have seen unbearably long waiting periods, while US citizen spouses and kids are left here, alone.

In June, USCIS proposed a new set of rules to revamp how the government decides these waivers.

In reviewing the process, a number of problems were noted, including hugely disparate processing times – ranging from a few days to several years—and discrepancies in interpretation of the “extreme hardship” standard.

Recommendations for improving the process include:

(1) centralize processing all I-601 applications into one office;

(2) provide for the concurrent filling of I-601 applications together with I-130, Petitions for Alien Relative;

(3) prioritize the finalization of the overseas case management system in order to allow for posting processing times and tracking;

(4) publish clear filing instructions for expedited processing;

(5) improve coordination between consular officers and USCIS adjudicators; and

(6) permit USCIS employees to request and obtain digitized files upon receipt of interview schedules.

We commend the Ombudsman’s Office for reviewing this “life or death” waiver, and encourage USCIS to implement these recommendations as soon as possible.
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About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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