NCLR Applauds Obama Administration’s Commonsense Fix to Help Legal Immigrant Families Stay Together

January 06 2012


Joseph Rendeiro
(202) 776-1566

Washington—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) today lauded the Obama administration’s announcement that it will begin a process to allow certain visa applicants to file a request for a family unity waiver in the U.S. The proposed change will eliminate a bureaucratic hurdle that creates hardships for U.S. citizens and their immediate family members and has resulted in the separation of families for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. 

“It is unconscionable that a bureaucratic loophole is unnecessarily separating families for weeks or even years while they wait for a form to be processed. This is an affront to our most basic values as a nation. This sensible and compassionate proposal helps bring much-needed sanity to an often senseless process,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

The lack of federal action to address the breakdown of our immigration system has led to dysfunction and to obstacles that keep legal immigrant families separated for years instead of allowing them to enter the country through an efficient, logical process. Currently, spouses and children who qualify for a green card based on their relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident must leave the U.S. to apply for their green card abroad, and some of them are barred from reentering the U.S. for either three or ten years. Families remain separated for long periods of time, while the decision on the waiver for reentry is made. The administration’s commonsense proposal will allow for consideration of the family unity waiver before the applicant leaves the U.S. to complete the visa processing and return with a lawful permanent resident document.

“We caution our community that this process has not yet been implemented and to not fall prey to schemes promising any benefit,” noted Murguía.

“We commend President Obama on this important policy change and look forward to working with the administration in the coming months to ensure that the proposal is implemented robustly so that husbands, wives, and children who are playing by the rules can remain together.”

NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.             

Issues: Immigration
Geography:California, Far West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Texas