President Obama and Congress: Bring home American families in exile
Think that when U.S. citizens marry immigrants, they are automatically granted green cards? Think again.
Today tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Americans are suffering, separated indefinitely from their families—and even their own country—because of harsh immigration bars for infractions as simple as crossing the border. We are among them.
Therefore we ask legislators to repeal ALL immigration time bars for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, including those already living abroad. If Congress cannot agree on the total repeal, we ask that they allow us to apply for waivers on behalf of our families, whether abroad or Stateside, and that they be given a path to citizenship.
Please help us come home.
*Note to U.S. Citizens residing overseas. Please ensure that you use the zip code under which you are registered to vote in the U.S. Thank you.
Nicole Salgado, teacher from New York and Cornell University graduate, has struggled in exile in central Mexico with her family for the last seven years.
A Massachusetts native, Jane Sampaio had a dream of raising her family on a U.S. farm, but for the past four years has instead been bouncing between the U.S. and Brazil searching for a stable home. Her youngest daughter has not even met her father yet.
In a cruel twist of fate, Amy Godoy-Guerra's husband Carlos’ mother sent him to Laredo when he was 16 with his cousin's U.S. birth certificate as ID, instead of his valid visitor visa. Now Amy, Carlos, their U.S.-citizen son and newborn daughter survive in South Korea to keep their family together and avoid unlawful presence in the U.S., as well as the high crime rates and poverty of Mexico.
We are far from alone. Tens of thousands of American citizens—perhaps hundreds of thousands—married to foreigners with immigration bars face this same situation. Separated by thousands of miles, wives long to hold their husbands. Mothers yearn to see their daughters. Fathers pine to hug their sons.
We have given up everything we’ve known and moved abroad to keep our families together, at drastic professional, economic, and emotional cost. We wait to return to our homeland. All because of draconian penalties for civil immigration infractions. Our own country should not force us to live this way.
The proposed comprehensive immigration reform is a start, but will not bring home families like Nicole’s, Jane’s, and Amy’s. Therefore we, the undersigned, ask that you bring home all families in exile, freeing them from decade-long-or-more waits in foreign countries.
1. Repeal not just the 3- and 10-year, but all time bars for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, including those who are already living abroad and banned from returning to the U.S.
2. Or minimally, allow us to apply for hardship waivers for our immediate relatives with permanent bars, whether abroad or through the new stateside provisional waiver program. Make the waiver application more transparent and accessible, and consider the hardship to our children too.
3. Provide a pathway to citizenship for our spouses, parents and children, just as you will for those already in the U.S.
We are your American brothers and sisters, daughters, and sons. Yet our dreams have been shattered by the inability to legalize our loved ones.
So please, in the name of fairness, give our American families the opportunity for earned legalization too. In the name of family reunification, allow American citizens’ families to come home, together. In the name of justice, provide our loved ones their deserved opportunity to officially integrate into the American society to which they have already contributed as taxpayers, valuable employees, and heads of American citizen families.
Include us in this legislative reform. We are counting on you.