With a 79-19 Senate vote, Congress has corrected one of the more draconian immigration policies to be visited upon foreign-born spouses of American citizens.
Called the "widow's penalty" the policy allows immigration officials to annul spouses' applications for permanent residency when their American husbands or wives die before the marriage is two years old.
The U.S. government has long maintained that the marriage must last that long before the foreign spouse is eligible for a residency application, and that has put hundreds of widows and widowers whose mates died before that time period in line for deportation.
The House has already passed the same provision, which is part of a Homeland Security bill, and President Obama has said that he will sign it. Good. This rule has caused untold hardship for grieving spouses, quite often widows with young children.
Such was the case for Dahianna Heard of Casselberry, a Venezuelan who married U.S. citizen Jeffrey Heard, a military veteran, in 2004. Four months before they would have celebrated their second wedding anniversary Mr. Heard was killed in Iraq while working for a private security firm.
Ms. Heard had applied for permanent residency, but because her husband died before they had been married two years the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told her she and her two sons would be deported. She appealed, but was denied repeatedly by the USCIS and immigration courts.
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