As we continue advocating for family unity in our immigration laws, I’m excited to share an update on an important victory for migrant families.
As you may recall, earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule on the provisional unlawful presence waiver, or “family unity waiver,” which is available to certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Effective as of Monday, March 4, the waiver will help families with mixed immigration status who would experience extreme hardship if separated.
Certain undocumented relatives of U.S. citizens are required to leave the country to begin their application for legal status. However, upon departure from the United States, the applicants trigger a three- or ten-year bar to re-enter the country. Until now, the only way for applicants to file for a waiver of this bar was to first leave the country, a catch-22 that created long periods of family separation. However, the recent changes made to this waiver will allow applicants to file for legal status from within the United States, decreasing the amount of time families are separated.
This important change calls attention to the fact that our current immigration system forces many families to live apart from their loved ones for years or even decades. Although the family unity waiver will help a large number of families, it’s no substitute for the long-term solutions we need in comprehensive immigration reform. Join LIRS’s work to ensure all families are protected by sending a message to your elected officials through the LIRS Action Center. And as always, thank you for everything you’ve done to take a stand with immigrants and refugees!