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  • 04/01/2013 3:24 PM | American Families United (Administrator)
    Congress may be in recess, but American Families United members are not taking a break from advocating for immigration reform that addresses the needs of U.S. citizens and their families.

    This week members will meet with lawmakers from Nevada, California and Arizona to describe how the nation’s broken immigration system threatens the unity of U.S. citizen families.

    “This is a key opportunity to get our message out there,” said American Families United Vice President Dana Forrester, who was forcibly separated from her Jamaican husband. “Lawmakers need to consider U.S. citizens and their spouses in the immigration reform debate,” she said.

    Ms. Forrester will share her perspective as part of a panel discussion with Anna Lake, the Legislative Director for Rep. Amodei (R-Nev.) on April 4 in Reno.

    American Families United Secretary Steven Zaharakis will also weigh in as an invited panelist on an immigration roundtable with Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) on April 3.

    Arizona resident Sherrie Soria, who will participate in a roundtable discussion with Congresswoman. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), says she plans to use the meeting in Phoenix to explain why US citizens should be treated at least as generously as others in immigration reform.

    “As comprehensive immigration reform takes shape, we must not forget U.S. citizens who are sponsoring their spouses,” she said. “This legislation needs to give U.S citizens’ families the due process they deserve to have their case heard by a judge.”

  • 04/01/2013 3:20 PM | American Families United (Administrator)
    At a town hall meeting with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tucson resident Gale Thompson held up a front page story from the Arizona Daily Star featuring a photo of his exiled daughter and grandchildren.

    “She loves her husband and the children love their father,” he told the gathering in Phoenix on March 25. “She has chosen to live in a dangerous city rather than break up her family by separation.  I’m with American Families United and I’m asking that American citizens caught in this turmoil be treated at least as generously as the undocumented.”

    Senator McCain responded that one third of the constituents he is dealing with fall into this category.

    To learn more about American Families United proposed solution, please visit: http://americanfamiliesunited.org/i601
  • 03/29/2013 12:30 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    This week more than two dozen members of American Families United launched personal web sites to break their silence about being forcibly separated from their spouse or exiled under current immigration law.

    “These web sites highlight the stories U.S. citizens who have been traditionally left out of comprehensive immigration reform,” said Randall Emery, American Families United president. “The legal issues these families face are the same as the 11 million living in the shadows.  The difference is that we are talking about U.S. citizens, and their spouses are now going through the legal immigration system.”

    In story after story, members from across the country shared how they met their spouses, the lives they built together and how their families were eventually torn apart.

    Sade Bonilla, a Fullbright Scholar and a PhD candidate at Stanford University described the injustice of achieving the American dream without being able to enjoy it with her spouse.

    “As a child I was told to work hard and if I did I would achieve great things,” she wrote. “I never once considered that a law passed when I was ten years old would separate me from the love of my life for five years and possibly ten years.”

    For Alabama native Nicholas Martin, whose wife received a lifetime bar with no option of an appeal, the question now is whether separated families will be included in comprehensive immigration reform.

    “A lot has been said in this immigration debate about what is going to happen with the 11 million undocumented present in this country, but I’m more worried about the lack of attention that is being paid to us, U.S. citizens,” he said. “Don’t we deserve a break as well?”

    To read the stories of American families who have been forcibly separated or exiled by immigration law, please visit www.americanfamiliesunited.org/family_stories.

  • 03/29/2013 9:30 AM | American Families United (Administrator)

    A number of influential organizations recently declared their support for American Families United’s proposed waiver reform legislation. These include:

    New York Immigration Coalition

    CU Immigration Forum

    Make the Road New York

    Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund

    Arab American Society of New York

    Immigration Advocacy Matters

    Post-Deportation Human Rights Project

    Action for Family Unity

    Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey

    Chhaya CDC

    Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)

    New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

    FANM - Haitian Women of Miami

    Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

    Idaho Community Action Network

    Mingkwon Center for Community Action

    The latest endorsements underscore the relevance of our legislative goal of creating a waiver system that allows a judge to consider the needs of U.S. citizens when deciding whether to admit immigrant spouses. American Families United will submit its letter to legislators on April 8.

    To read American Families United’s proposal, please visit www.americanfamiliesunited.org/i601.

  • 03/18/2013 12:00 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    Paul Bridges, the mayor of Uvalda, Ga. who filed a class action lawsuit to prevent his state from enforcing its “papers please” law, has pledged to actively advocate for American Families United.

    “Mayor Bridges’ public support for American Families United’s principles strengthens our fight for U.S. citizen families,” said our President Randall Emery. “We are proud to be building a diverse, national coalition to bolster American communities and protect the rights of U.S. citizens through comprehensive reform.”

    Mayor Bridges spoke out against the Georgia law that would have allowed immigrants to be detained by the police and asked for proof of citizenship. The law threatened to impose criminal penalties for anyone who knowingly harbors or transports an undocumented immigrant.

    To learn more about American Families United’s legislative agenda or to join, please visit www.americanfamiliesunited.org.

  • 03/14/2013 5:00 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    At a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on March 14, American Families United President Randall Emery urged lawmakers to create immigration laws that respect the rights of U.S. citizens.

    “It is often said that our immigration laws are broken, but not why. It’s simple: our laws contradict our values,” Mr. Emery told the committee, which includes waiver reform supporters Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). “New laws must reflect old values: marriage, family.”

    The hearing on “The Separation of U.S. families under Current Immigration Law” also included witnesses from the Migration Policy Institute and the National Council of La Raza.

    American Families United member Mathi Mugilan Paguth Arivalan, who is waiting two and half years for a visa for his wife, also testified. Mr. Emery called the lengthy delays like Mr. Arivalan’s “indefensible”.

    “It defies our national interest to tell a new American that they cannot marry, cannot really start a new life in the United States, until they become a U.S. citizen,” he said. “What national interest could it possibly serve, to tell husbands and wives that they must sleep in separate countries for five years?”

    Additionally, Mr. Emery reminded the committee that the separation of American families often includes U.S. citizens.

    “We also urge due process waiver reform, because the families of US citizens should be treated at least as generously as anybody else in comprehensive immigration legislation.” he said.

    To view the hearing and listen to American Families United’s full testimony, please visit: http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/hear_03142013.html  (Please note: the hearing starts at minute 33:00 in the second video)

  • 03/12/2013 5:00 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    American Families United has been invited to testify at the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the Separation of Nuclear Families Under Immigration Law on Thursday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m. AFU President Randall Emery will describe how the broken immigration system is impacting American families and advocate for waiver reform. Mathi Mugilan Paguth Arivalan, another AFU member, will also be testifying. 

    To learn more about AFU’s proposals for reform, please visit http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/about/issues. To lend your support for Randall or Mathi, please email your local representative or share your perspective with one of the members of the Judiciary’s subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

  • 03/11/2013 1:00 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    If the recent Washington, DC lobbying day on Feb. 14 taught us anything, it’s how important it is for us to speak directly with the lawmakers who are shaping immigration reform.

    Today we are pleased to announce that American Families United will soon take its efforts to the next level, thanks to our March fundraiser, which raised $30,000. This fund will support the work of our DC representatives, who lobby on our behalf and have helped give us a national voice in this debate.

    As we continue our grassroots advocacy, we hope you’ll continue your fundraising efforts with family and friends, and consider signing up as a Circle of Hope donor. This monthly contribution of as little as $10 will help maintain our voice in the national debate in the coming months. For more information about how to donate, please contact 202-596-AFU1(2381) or visit http://americanfamiliesunited.org/donate.

  • 02/14/2013 5:00 PM | American Families United (Administrator)

    On February 13th and 14th, members of American Families United met with the offices of 53 Senators and Members of Congress to ask that US citizens be treated at least as well as others in immigration reform.

    We met the following members in person:
    • Senator Michael Bennet (CO)
    • Senator Barbara Boxer (CA)
    • Senator Al Franken (MN)
    • Senator Tim Kaine (VA)
    • Senator Pat Toomey (PA)
    • Congressman Luis Gutierrez
    • Congressman Mark Amodei (NV)
    • Congressman Bob Brady (PA)
    • Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA)
    • Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
    • Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY)
    • Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA)
    • Congressman Beto O’Rourke (TX)
    • Congressman Ted Poe (TX)
    • Congressman Adam Schiff (CA)
    • Congressman Juan Vargas (CA)

    Congressman Luis Gutierrez (IL) sponsored a press conference with us on the topic of the need for immigration reform for separated, exiled, and outlawed families. He spoke directly to our group and spent time talking with members afterwards. Photos from the day are posted on our facebook page.

    Additionally, 50 Valentine's Day events were held around the country to show support and :solidarity to those who couldn't attend the DC trip.  Highlights of the day can be found at myheart.americanfamiliesunited.org.

    Some of press mentions we received follow:

    Despite this success, we need to continue our outreach to those who are shaping this legislation. If you haven’t done so already, please call, email or set up a meeting with a local Congressional representative. If you’d like advice on how to get started, please contact 202-596-AFU1(2381).


General email:


Randall Emery, President


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