By Pat Loeb

In a change that is being applauded by immigrant support groups, the Obama administration says it will tweak federal immigration law so that families can stay together in the US while individual members wait for a green card.

Myrna Montgomery came to Philadelphia legally, on a work visa. She met an American, fell in love, and got married.

Then she got pregnant and applied to become a citizen, excitedly planning to raise her children in her new country.  That’s when she discovered to her horror that she would have to leave the country for three years in order to get her green card.

“I almost died there — I was so shocked,” she recalls. “I was very speechless and I said, ‘Oh my God, why?’ ”

Her activist husband managed to win an exception for her, but Joanna Otero-Cruz, of the Philadelphia-based Latino rights group Concilio, says others are not so lucky.

“In some of the cases, I know, it’s the breadwinner that has to go back,” she tells KYW Newsradio, “so that places the family in a vulnerable financial situation.”

She welcomes the change, which will prevent such situations.  Federal officials hope the new rule will take effect by the end of this year.

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