2011 a year of disappointment; 2012 a year of hope?
Attorney Jan G. Johansson on expectations, hopes for immigration policies in 2012.
2011 was a year of disappointment and inactivity—or perhaps inability in Washington, D.C. to address ANY issues regarding the immigration situation in the country. This lead to many states enacting their own legislation to deal with their immigration problems, resulting in potentially devastating federal issues developing.
The United States Commodity Index and the Department of Homeland Security concentrated on domestic enforcement of immigration rules and regulation, resulting in a huge increase in both raids on work places/factories and deportations. At the same time, the ongoing recession contributed to a dramatic decrease in illegal and legal immigration to the United States.
The “B” visa problem—visa waiver holders from the EU apply for but get denied B visas and thereby lose their visa waiver status, which makes it virtually impossible to visit the U.S.—has grown worse all over Europe. The denial decisions which are made by the individual embassies cannot be appealed; they seem directed against young people on grounds that are at best vague and opinionated.
So I repeat this warning: Do NOT go to the embassy thinking they will “help” you when you are being “honest” as you try to explain your situation and why you might need a B visa. These consular offices have a not-so-great tradition of turning people’s words against them, purposely misunderstanding their intentions and denying petitions at random. Consult a lawyer BEFORE you set up a meeting at the embassy.
However, after all this doom and gloom, there is one good thing coming out of Washington: In early January 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced a proposed process change that would allow spouses and children of U.S. citizens who are in the U.S., but need a waiver of unlawful presence in order to get a green card, to apply for that waiver within the United States.
This proposed change may have an enormous positive impact because it would allow undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional waiver while in the U.S.—something not permitted under the current rule. If the waiver is granted, the foreign nationals still have to leave the United States, apply for their immigrant visa abroad, and if the application is granted, return to family. The change will give countless American families a chance to stay together legally.

Jan Gunnar Johansson is a practicing attorney in New York City. Mr. Johansson is admitted in New York State and in Connecticut, both state and federal. Practicing in immigration, corporate, real estate, family law and international law, Mr. Johansson has legal education and degrees from Sweden, England and USA.
Tel: (212) 517-2750 • Fax: (212) 988-3285
email: jjlaw@msn.com