Friday, September 4, 2009

I have blogged in the past about the so-called "widow penalty" in immigration law. These postings included one in June about DHS establishing relief by granting deferred action for two years to widows and widowers of U.S. citizens and children under 18 years old, who live in the US and who were married for less than two years before their spouse’s death.

USCIS has now issued formal guidance on this relief here. The link includes FAQs and a Fact Sheet.

CIS explains deferred action as
an exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to pursue removal of a particular alien for a particular period. Deferred action is not intended to be a permanent remedy to the “widow penalty,” rather it is a temporary discretionary solution to an issue that is subject to ongoing legislative and judicial actions. The grant of deferred action by USCIS does not confer or alter any immigration status.
Until the law is changed to eliminate the widow penalty, deferred action is the best that CIS can do to alleviate the hardship to families.

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