Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-7) and Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9) introduced H.R. 8708, the American Families United Act. This bipartisan legislation is designed to preserve and promote family unity by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to help millions of U.S. citizens reunite with their loved ones.
The American Families United Act would protect the rights and interests of U.S. citizens in our immigration system, and provide the Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary discretion to allow certain individuals to be reunited in the United States. This legislation could help Alejandra Juárez, a Polk County resident of over 20 years, who was deported from the United States to her home country of México in August 2018. Alejandra’s husband, Sgt. Temo Juárez is an Iraq combat veteran who served in the Marines and the Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard. Together, they raised their two U.S.-born daughters Pamela, 19, and Estela, 11, in Davenport, Florida.
“I was at the Orlando International Airport when my constituent, Alejandra Juárez, a mother and wife, boarded a plane and headed for México, a country to which she was born but did not call home,” said Congressman Soto. “She left behind her two American-born daughters, Pamela and Estela, and her husband, Temo, a veteran of both the U.S. Marines and Army. Since that day, I made a promise never to give up fighting to reunite them. The American Families United Act is key to fixing the broken immigration system that tears families apart and threatens the social fabric of thousands of communities across the country. We will reunite the families impacted by the Administration’s cruel immigration policies!”
The legislation, introduced by former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, was inspired by Edgar Falcón, an El Pasoan and constituent of Texas’ 16th Congressional District. Edgar married his wife Maricruz on the U.S.-México border in 2013 after Maricruz was refused a visa. Since then, Edgar has traveled between his family’s home in Ciudad Juarez and his job in El Paso, but his ability to commute has been strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
“For decades, families like Edgar’s across the U.S.-México border have been forced to live apart from one another due to outdated immigration laws,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Thousands of innocent children and families have been separated by a border between them, and we cannot stop fighting until every single family is reunited. The American Families United Act is a critical step in the right direction and will help bring loved ones together. Much more work remains in the 117th Congress and I look forward to achieving broader, bolder, and more comprehensive changes to our immigration system in the new year.”
“Families belong together,” said Congressman Woodall. “In many cases today, immigration policy provides U.S. citizens with absolutely no pathway for citizenship—or even a legal status—for their spouse. These policies either keep families apart or encourage families to stay in the shadows. We can do and must do better. We should be encouraging people to get right by the law. This bill keeps the families of American citizens together while undocumented spouses and some parents wait in line for their chance to become an American citizen.”
“I made a promise never to give up fighting to reunite them. The American Families United Act is key to fixing the broken immigration system that tears families apart and threatens the social fabric of thousands of communities across the country. We will reunite the families impacted by the Administration’s cruel immigration policies.”
Congressman Darren Soto
“I thank Congresswoman Escobar, who’s courageously supporting this bipartisan bill,” said Edgar Falcon, American Families United President and El Pasoan. “Our members are extremely grateful for her leadership, as well as the leadership of Congressman Woodall and Congressman Soto. We call on their Congressional colleagues to pass this bill because Americans have the right to marry for love without being forced to choose between marriage and our country.”
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