The Department of Homeland Security has issued a new regulation called the “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver of Inadmissibility for Certain Immediate Relatives” rule. Under the final rule, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can remain in the United States while the government processes their waiver applications. The rule is designed to allow family members to stay together during an application process that can take months, if not years.
DHS declined to extend the rule to immediate family members of legal permanent residents. The agency also declined to extend the rule to family members who are not "immediate relatives" of a U.S. citizen, instead choosing to start small and see what happens.
Nobody can dispute that the final rule will foster one of its main intended purposes, which is to promote family unity and reduce the amount of time family members are apart from each other. Of course, the rule does not guarantee that applicants will actually receive waivers. Those who can stay in the United States while their applications are pending may have to leave the country down the road if the government denies the waiver.
Critics argue that the rule will allow people with bogus waiver applications to postpone their inevitable departures. There's probably a little merit in this argument. Some people will take advantage of the system. But plenty of waiver applicants have legitimate claims (or at least arguably legitimate claims), so the critics' argument is comparable to fighting a Hurricane Sandy relief package because some of the money will be wasted and misspent. This almost always happens. The question is whether you think the good that comes out of this regulation outweighs the potential downside.