Monday, January 9, 2012

Community Applauds Changes to Keep Families Together

Contact: Ryan Bates, 248.787.6767,

Community Applauds Changes to Keep Families Together
Ascencio Family Puts a True Face on Administration’s Proposed Changes

Detroit – Francisco Ascencio would like to join his family as a true citizen of the United States. His wife is a citizen. His three children are citizens. But in order for Ascencio to legally pursue citizenship, he risks being separated from his family for 10 years.

This is because Ascencio, who has been an undocumented resident of Michigan for over 13 years, would need to return to Mexico to begin the citizenship process. Yet, returning to Mexico would set in motion a series of events that could tear apart this family. He would be banned from returning to the U.S. for 10 years. Although waivers to this ban are available, he would still need to take the risk of going to Mexico to ask for this waiver.

This policy presents a dilemma to many undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and requires a calculation of risks for immigrant families.

But the Obama administration proposed a change to this policy. On Friday, the administration introduced changes that would allow immigrants to seek the waiver to the 3- or 10-year ban while staying on U.S. soil.

The Ascencio family gathered with advocates from the Arab-American, Latino, and legal communities today at the offices of ACCESS to put a human face on the proposed changes.

Our immigration policies should prioritize keeping families together. We’re very encouraged to see the Obama Administration enact this common-sense change to make things easier for the spouses of US Citizenss,” said Nadia Tonova, director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, “While we wait for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, we need the Administration to do what they can to alleviate the suffering of families who are eligible for some relief.”

The new policy would allow immigrants with families in the U.S. to request a waiver on the ban if they can prove their absence would present an extreme hardship to their families, and this waiver request could now be initiated from the U.S. This change shows the administration’s commitment to aiding families in staying together, raising children in dual-parent households, and maintaining financial freedom without leaning on the state for support.

The proposed policy was published on January 6 in the Federal Register, but administration officials have stressed that this is only the beginning of the process. Quotes from officials have indicated a desire to have an official policy in place by the end of the year.
To learn more about Alliance for Immigrant Rights & Reform Michigan, please visit, follow them on Facebook at ReformImmigrationFORAmericaMI or on Twitter at @RI4AMichigan.

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