How we treat immigrants should reflect our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. We all believe families should stick together and yet, our current immigration policies, unfortunately and too often, tear families apart instead of strengthening them – including U.S. citizens and immigrant family members.
On Wednesday, however, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a change in policy that takes a small, but important step towards keeping families together.
This rule, known as the family unity waiver rule, will change current policy to allow immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for visas and remain in the country with their loved ones while doing going through the application process. Previously, an arcane rule in immigration policy required relatives to travel to their country of origin to apply for a visa, facing a potential wait of 3 or 10 years outside the country, depending on how long they lived in the U.S. Because of this, many Americans faced years-long separation from immigrant spouses, children, or parents, and many families decided not to risk applying for immigration papers for fear of separation from family.
We applaud this common sense measure to preserve the strength of families for all Americans.