May 29, 2012
During We Belong Together’s recent “virtual” delegation to Tennessee, we heard from Alysa, a U.S. citizen whose husband is forced to remain undocumented because adjusting his status would mean leaving the country, and risking separation from his family for ten years or more. The thought of missing the childhoods of his four children, who range in age from 10 months to thirteen years, is more than Alysa’s husband can bear.
If we act today, we can help many families like Alysa’s be able to stay together.
Currently, permanent residents and U.S. citizens like Alysa can petition for certain family members to obtain an immigrant visa. However, applicants must leave the country for processing at a U.S. Consulate, and once they have left, they can be barred from reentering the country for 3 or 10 years, depending on how long they have resided in the U.S. without papers. Applicants can solicit a hardship waiver to prevent the 3- and 10-year bars, but can only do so once they’ve left the country. The uncertainty of the current situation is too risky for many families, forcing many would-be legal permanent residents to remain undocumented. Like Alysa’s family, there are countless others caught in this legal Catch-22.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration announced its intent to change this process. Under the proposed changes, applicants will be able to apply for a hardship waiver from within the U.S., lessening the chances that families will be torn apart. But these proposed changes are not a done deal! U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has not issued its final decision, and is soliciting comments on the proposed hardship waiver only until Friday, June 1st.
Help keep families together by submitting a comment TODAY! Clearly state that you are in favor of the proposed changes, and in favor of keeping families together. Note that comments will only be considered if they are received by June 1, so please send in your comment today!