New immigration law proposal draws praise and criticism - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New immigration law proposal draws praise and criticism

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YAKIMA, Wash- Supporters say it's a step in the right direction, but opponents call it amnesty.  There's a new proposed policy for people immigrating to the U. S. that makes the process easier for people who have a parent or spouse that's already a citizen.

Yakima office of Immigration Services serves about 3,500 people a year.  Roughly 14 percent of them are trying to get green cards for their child or spouse.

Right now the process takes an average of six months... In some cases years... During which time the applicant has to leave the country and wait for the judgment.

But under the proposal announced today... Illegal immigrants married to a citizen or the child of a citizen would be able to stay in the U-S while their waiver is processed.

Opponents say that loosens immigration restrictions, but immigration services insist that's not the case.

"This proposed process does not change the requirements for immigrating to the U-S or obtaining a Visa, the only thing it does is change the amount of time someone must spend outside the United States before they can obtain an immigrant Visa", says Tim Counts, spokesperson for the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services Department.

The proposal, commonly known as the family unity waiver, is intended for  us citizens who say it's a hardship having their child or spouse live in another country while they wait for a decision.

There will be a comment period before the policy is approved or rejected.