The “widow penalty” as it has come to be known, renders deportable a foreign-national who marries a US Citizen when the US spouse dies within two years of marriage, during the conditional residency period.

News media have denounced this practice as unfair and several District Courts have struck down the widow penalty.  In June 2009, Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security put a two year moratorium on the penalty, suspending for two years any action by the government on these widows.

When the government interpretation of many of this nation’s immigration laws are challenged in court or even by the media, changes are inevitable.  Unfortunately, using the court system and media pressure is a much slower, piece-meal approach to the problem than radically changing the laws and enacting much-needed comprehensive immigration reform.

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Author: Bradley Maged

I'm Brad Maged, an immigration lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts. I help people who want to live and work in the United States and companies that wish to employ them. This blog provides opinion and information on developments in immigration law. Thanks for reading!

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