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Obama Ends Widow Penalty

On October 28, 2009, Obama signed into law a bill that ends the widow penalty for surviving spouses of deceased U.S. citizens. Previously, a foreign national married fewer than two years to a U.S. citizen who died was deportable upon that death. This new bill removes the two year requirement and allows surviving spouses to self-petition for permanent resident status (i.e. green card status). This includes any children as well. For those married two years or more at the death of the spouse, the law remains the same and self-petitioning is permitted.