U.S Citizen families from states such as as California, New York, New Mexico, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, and many others, flew to DC to meet with House Representatives with the ask that they cosponsor H.R. 3431, The American Families United Act. Over 50 offices from the House were met with to ask for their support as cosponsors. Allyson Batista, who sits on the Board of Directors from American Families United, stated that they "left the meetings very encouraged by the genuine interest in some offices, but with the knowledge that we have more work ahead."
Congressman Beto O'Rourke and Steve Pearce ended the schedule off meetings with a briefing for Congressional staff on the "Uniting of American Citizen Families". Just before the briefing started, American Families United members presented present Congressman Pearce with the American Family Champion Award for his leadership on family unity.
At the briefing, Congressman O'Rourke spoke of his experience of attending Edgar Falcon's wedding with Maricruz on the international bridge from El Paso to Mexico and how it pushed him to write this bill with Congressman Pearce. Congressman Pearce spoke about how this bill is the right thing to do, how love overcomes all obstacles, how he was proud to reach across the aisle with Congressman O'Rourke to write the bill, and how he really did not hear any negative feedback when he talked about the bill with conservatives in the district.
Following these introductions, Ruth Wasem from the Congressional Research Service presented a history of how US citizen families have been treated in immigration law, complete with a detailed history of bars and waivers as they apply to US citizens. Notably, she explained how some of the bars that so many people are suffering from were created in 1996. It was also clear in her presentation that current waiver law is really an aberration in US history. Presentations were then given by AFU members Randall Emery, Tony Sierra, Shawna Avila, and Pamela Deligiannis Monroy on their stories of separation.
Finally, Alfonso Aguilar, an extremely prominent conservative voice for immigration reform, gave a passionate call to support this bill, Mr. Aguilar was President Bush's appointee to lead USCIS. He spoke about how he visited Jaurez and was shocked to learn that only 50% of waivers were approved. He spoke about the importance of family. He praised Congressman O'Rourke and Congressman Pearce for working across the aisle, and concluded his presentation by imploring that H.R. 3431 be passed into law while work continues on other important immigration issues.