WASHINGTON—The Obama administration plans a rule change to help reduce the time illegal immigrant spouses and children are separated from citizen relatives while they try to win legal status in the United States, a senior administration official said Thursday.
Currently, illegal immigrants must leave the country before they can ask the government to waive a three- to 10-year ban on legally coming back to the U.S. The length of the ban depends on how long they have lived in the U.S. without permission.
The official said the new rule would let children and spouses of citizens ask the government to decide on the waiver request before the illegal immigrant heads to his or her home country to apply for a visa. The illegal immigrants still must go home to finish the visa process to come back to the U.S., but getting the waiver ahead of time could reduce the time an illegal immigrant is out of the country.
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