Those who would not qualify for provisional pardon under the law of retribution

The new proposal by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that would establish a provisional waiver of the punishment law has generated many questions from readers.
This week in my column from La Opinión I answer some of them. Here I answer your questions in a general way. Each case is different, so you should consult a lawyer to receive personalized legal advice.

When does the new law come into force? - July M.

No date has been set yet. USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas expects the new regulations to take effect no later than the end of this year. Before the regulations can be approved, they must go through a period of public scrutiny. The deadline for submitting comments is June 1, 2012. Once that deadline has passed, USCIS will evaluate the comments and publish a final regulation. It is not known how long that process will take.

I am from Costa Rica and I entered the U.S. undocumented in February 2000. My brother is a U.S. citizen and he applied for me in March 2005. Will I be able to take advantage of the new law? - Oscar A.

The new proposal only covers immediate family members - parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age - of U.S. citizens.

Where can I send my comments on the new law? - Esperanza M.

It is important for everyone to write to USCIS to express their opinion about the new proposed law. For example, they should ask that the proposal benefit more people, including spouses and children of permanent residents. The deadline to submit your comments is June 1, 2012. To participate, go to this website:

I have a deportation order but I am married to a U.S. citizen, will the new law help me? - Carmen T.

Persons who are subject to a final order of deportation or reinstatement of a previous removal order will not be eligible to apply for a provisional waiver of the penalty law.

I am married to a U.S. citizen and I entered the country undocumented in 2009. What happens if my provisional waiver application is denied? - Violeta E.

If your application is denied, you may be placed in deportation proceedings. It is imperative that you consult with an immigration attorney before you begin any proceedings.