601 waiver policies. Immigration in the US

Elaboration, 2016

10 Pages, Grade: A




Family Support and Responsibilities

Family Membership and Stability

Family Involvement and Interdependence

Family Partnership and Empowerment

Family Diversity

Support of Vulnerable Families

HR 2095



In an enforcement-only immigration system, the 601 and 601a waiver policies are a light in the dark for those facing deportation. These policies allow immigrants to return from their native country after deportation or voluntary departure if they meet the criteria of the policies and if their absence would or does pose an “extreme hardship” to their US citizen family members. While these programs offer hope to the deported and their families, only a fraction of those separated by deportation qualify and are approved for this relief. While the goal of the policy is to help families, the immigration system itself is flawed in the way it separates families through deportation, creating a need for such a program. The introduction of the bill HR 2095 provides hope for an expansion of the 601 waiver to include and assist more families.

Keywords: immigration, deportation, waiver, hardship

601 and 601a Waiver Examination

The 601 and 601a waivers are waivers of inadmissibility of certain immigrants. The 601a is a branch-off of the 601 waiver that allows for the waiver to be filed while the immigrant remains in the United States while the 601 is filed while the immigrant is out of the country. The requirements for the 601a are stricter than those of the 601 and as a result fewer immigrants are able to file under the 601a than the 601. This paper exams the waivers under six criteria: family support and responsibilities, family membership and stability, family involvement and interdependence, family partnership and empowerment, family diversity, and support of vulnerable families.

Family Support and Responsibilities

One of the primary requirements for the 601 and 601a waivers is that the absence of the immigrant must present “extreme hardship” to the qualifying US citizen relative. The definition of extreme hardship is vague, however by including this as a requirement demonstrates the program’s emphasis on family support and the immigrant family member’s responsibility to their US citizen family members.

When approved for the waiver, immigrants are allowed to remain or return to the United States to be with their family members and function as a member of that family. They are allowed to work to bring in income to the family. Except in very rare cases, the immigrant will not be allowed to claim any public assistance until naturalizing or maintaining residency for a minimum of five years, encouraging the family to be self-sufficient.

Where the program tends to fail in this area is the cost of obtaining the waiver and the documentation that follows. The filing fee for the 601 and 601A is $585. If the immigrant is under age 79 and filing the 601A wavier, there is an additional biometrics fee of $85. If the waiver application is approved, the immigrant will need to travel to the consulate in their country of origin and attend an interview and complete a medical exam. The cost of the medical exam varies by location. To be able to obtain permanent residency and return to the United States, the immigrant will also need to have applied for and had approved a visa application, the filing fees for which range from $340 to $420 and certain immigrants inadmissible under both INA section 212(a)(9)(A) and (C) are required to file Form I-212 in addition to the I-601, which has an additional filing fee of $585. These fees do not guarantee approval, nor do they include fees required for obtaining documentation and evidence for the case (i.e. police reports), travel costs, or attorney fees. For families who have lost a family member to deportation, this is a significant financial burden, especially as this is a relatively long process before and after filing because of the evidence needed and the processing times which, again, vary by location. During this waiting period, families have other bills to pay and daily expenses they must accommodate.

Except in rare situations, the immigrant’s petitioner (US citizen family member) must demonstrate financial stability to guarantee that the immigrant will not become a public charge. The petitioner may use a cosponsor to help reach the income requirements. By agreeing to cosponsor the immigrant, the person is accepting financial responsibility should the immigrant ever fall below the poverty line and require financial assistance. The cosponsor is only responsible for the immigrant, not the immigrant’s US citizen family members.

Family Membership and Stability

601 waiver policy provides incentives to marry as the immigrant must have a US citizen family member in order to qualify for the waiver. By the disincentive to separate or divorce because to do so may cause one to be denied. However, the stress related process line for a visa and one waiver significant strain on their other family relationships.

Ultimately the 601 waiver’s purpose is to reunite or keep together families separated by deportation. The criteria for the waiver however are vague and subjective, and the cost of the process high, making it difficult for families to qualify for this waiver. While many families do qualify, many do not. Those that do not qualify or cannot afford to apply suffer extremely as a result of deportation (Juby, 2011).

Family Involvement and Interdependence

On the surface, the goal of the program is to help keep families together, which reinforces the effect of an individual on the family, however the waiver is based on the extreme hardship faced by the US citizen family member and not necessarily their family members (US citizen or not) such as children. For example, if an inadmissible immigrant is married to a US citizen and they have two US citizen children together, the waiver is based on the hardship to the US citizen spouse, not to the children. It also does not take into consideration the hardship faced by the immigrant if the waiver would be denied, which is often just as great as the hardship faced by the family, and may include things like not being familiar with the language or customs of the native country, not having a place to live in the native country, and not being able to find a job in the native country. This demonstrates that the waiver does not take into consideration the effect of the family on the individual.

The waiver takes into the consideration the responsibilities involved in caring for family members in that one of the ways for a petitioner to prove hardship is to demonstrate how they are responsible for caring for a family member in the US and are unable to relocate with the immigrant to their native country.


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601 waiver policies. Immigration in the US
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ISBN (eBook)
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immigration, hardship, deportation, waiver, inadmissibility
Quote paper
AS Human Services Bobbi Contreras (Author), 2016, 601 waiver policies. Immigration in the US, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/336785


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