Obama: Let Illegals Stay While Applying for Documents Proposal wouldn't require Congress' OK By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jan 6, 2012 9:13 AM CST 66 comments Comments President Obama speaks at an Ohio high school Jan. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari) (Newser) – President Obama will today propose a change in immigration rules: Under the suggested regulation, undocumented immigrants wouldn't have to leave the country while they apply for green cards. Current regulations can split families during the lengthy application process: Illegals who leave are subject to a ban from returning lasting up to 10 years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Though undocumented immigrants can seek exemptions from the rule, to do so they must apply outside the country, and even then they may have to wait years. The Immigration Policy Center notes that most of these waiver applications are made in Ciudad Juarez, which the US says has Mexico's highest murder rate. The proposed change would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for said exemption in the US, allowing them to remain with their families while their requests are considered. The Times notes that the proposal doesn't require Congressional approval and could help Obama win over Latino voters.