Wednesday, January 11, 2012

USCRI Applauds Proposed Rule Helping Families Stay Together

Under current immigration policy, U.S. citizens and their undocumented family members can face long separations – often years – while their immigration applications are being processed.  The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday a proposal to reduce the amount of separation time currently faced by families.  The U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants (USCRI) supports this reform which will diminish the hardship experienced by citizens and their spouses and children.

"The purpose of the new process is to reduce the time that U.S. families remain separated while their relative proceeds through the immigrant visa process," U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in its announcement.  Presently, many children and spouses of U.S. citizens who qualify for immigration status but who have been unlawfully present in the U.S., are required to travel abroad to complete the immigration application process. This process can last years and it often results in U.S. citizens being separated from their family members for an extended period of time. The proposed regulation would allow eligible spouses and children of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional family unity waiver before going abroad to complete their legal immigration process, significantly reducing the amount of familial separation.

“This is a common-sense, practical solution to a process that previously often kept children from their U.S. citizen parents” said Tricia Swartz, director of USCRI’s National Center for Refugee & Immigrant Children. 

USCRI’s President and CEO, Lavinia Limón, commended the intended policy reform saying “The reform is a humane, sensible approach.  USCRI and its partners are hopeful of additional future practical improvements to the immigration system.”

USCRI is a Washington, D.C. area-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs and rights of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide by advancing fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting the full participation of refugees and immigrants in community life.  Its program, the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, is the only program providing pro bono legal and social services to immigrant children nationwide.
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 2231 Crystal Drive Suite 350
Arlington, VA 22202-3794, (703) 310-1130