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ACLU lawsuit pushes back against Trump’s weaponization of waivers

For some undocumented immigrants, marrying a United States citizen can mean a second chance at life. The marriage is supposed to open a new path to citizenship. It’s supposed to let them pursue the American dream. But under Trump, ICE has arrested newly married immigrants who met with officials from Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

Fortunately, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has helped these immigrants fight back. The ACLU filed a federal class action lawsuit challenging the arrests. Recently, it won the right to extend the suit to all of New England.

Not the way its supposed to be

The practice of arresting newly married immigrants seems to run straight against the other parts of U.S. law. For example, the provisional unlawful presence waiver aims to keep families together. The CIS website doesn’t suggest that immigrants filing for a provisional unlawful presence waiver should expect to be arrested. Instead, it says they might look forward to staying with family while waiting to become lawful permanent residents.

Are you eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver?

You may be eligible for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if you are a visa applicant and the child, parent or spouse of a U.S. citizen. You may also be eligible if you were sponsored by your family member or employer, or if you were selected for a Diversity Visa.

Getting the help you need

While the ACLU’s lawsuit applies most directly to New England’s undocumented immigrants and their spouses, it can also serve as an example for California’s immigrant families. The Trump administration has been working hard against immigrants. ICE officials have taken children from their parents, and they have ripped apart newly married couples. But the law still offers hope. Immigrants hoping to keep their families together may want to find skilled lawyers to help them.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber