New law to end widow penalty provision

October 21, 2009 10:19:13 AM PDT
President Barack Obama is expected to sign changes to a law that led to the automatic deportation of some widows and widowers of U.S. citizens.Congress gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that would effectively abolish a provision known as the "Widow's Penalty." The measure is part of a bigger Homeland Security bill that Obama is expected to sign.

U.S. law now triggers the deportation of surviving immigrant spouses of American citizens who die before they have been married two years.

The requirement had prompted lawsuits and led Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this summer to suspend it for two years. The new law would allow the widows to submit petitions seeking residency even when the spouse dies before two years of marriage.

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