Every year, hundreds of thousands of families who are trying to follow the rules under our current immigration laws are separated for indefinite periods of time as a result of the severe policies of our present system. If they have lived in the U.S. without documents, the spouses and children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents face family unity bars that run between three and ten years.
Under the existing laws there is a waiver that spouses or children of U.S. citizens can qualify for if they prove that the separation would cause “extreme hardship” to their U.S.-citizen family member. The difficulty lies in the fact that applicants must currently travel outside of the U.S. to obtain this waiver, triggering the three to ten year bar.
Forced out of the country to wait for a decision, family members endure long periods of uncertainty and separation from their loved ones. The waiting can last months or years, and the situation becomes an extremely difficult hardship when the spouse who is left behind ends up being the sole caregiver of the household, as is often the case.
What the Proposal Would Fix
The processing change that is being proposed would reduce the amount of time families are separated by allowing a U.S. citizen’s spouse or child to apply for the family unity waiver within the U.S., permitting the family to remain united as it awaits a decision on the waiver.
Why We Need to Take Action
These type of proposals are open for public comment, in support or opposition, for 60 days. We expect anti-immigrant activists to bombard the government with comments urging it to strike down the proposal, so it is important for us to share our support for this humane update to our existing policies. Sojourners wants to submit now at least 250 positive comments to the Department of Homeland Security from our CCIR campaign — please help us meet this life-changing goal by commenting or encouraging friends to do so.