FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 13, 2023
“President Biden, don’t betray our families”: Parole Authority Should Not Be Given Away, No Trump-Era Deportation Policies, Urged U.S. citizen spouses of immigrants
Pollster Celinda Lake joined U.S. citizen spouses and employers showing expanding work permits for long-term immigrants can drive 2024 turnout
Recording available here.
WASHINGTON – Today, the non-partisan American Families United (AFU), representing United States citizens married to foreign nationals, hosted a press conference with the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce (TAMAAC) and the American Business Immigration Coalition Action (ABIC Action). Together, they raised alarm about big changes the Biden administration is currently considering, reminiscent of Trump-era immigration policies including instituting “expedited removal” and negotiating away the President’s parole authority in ongoing budget negotiations.
“We live throughout the country, including key swing states, and our message to President Biden and elected officials in both parties is simple: hold the line for our families in these ongoing budget negotiations,” said Ashley DeAzevedo, president of American Families United, a volunteer-run organization led by U.S. citizens married to undocumented immigrants who are barred from accessing legal pathways. “It would be a total betrayal to give up the president’s parole authority or bring back Trump-era deportation policies that push American mixed-status families, like the ones we represent, back into the shadows.”
“Pouring gasoline on a devastating labor shortage by reinstating a national deportation program would devastate businesses and worsen inflation. The solution is to expand work permits for long-term immigrants, not fueling an economic crisis that would hurt employers and American families,” stated Juan Carlos Cerda, Texas State Director of the American Business Immigration Coalition Action, a DACA recipient and member of a mixed-status family.
Celinda Lake, a Democratic Party strategist with Lake Research Partners, presented a recent survey of likely 2024 voters in seven key swing states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). It showed very strong support for expanding work permits through parole for undocumented immigrants (including long-term workers, farm workers, Dreamers without DACA and spouses of U.S. citizens) in these swing states and demonstrating the potential to both mobilize turnout targets and consolidate key swing audiences.
“There is extremely broad and strong support for expanding work permits for undocumented immigrants, including long-term workers, farm workers, Dreamers [without DACA] and spouses of U.S. citizens,” said pollster Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “Consolidating Mexican American and mixed-status families, a very strong policy with younger people and a 2-to-1 support by swing voters, with absolutely no backlash.”
Ms. Lake shared that expanding work permits increased the support of key constituencies, appealed to swing voters and mobilized demoralized voters, making them excited about the election and candidates in favor of those policies. “This is a policy that is wildly popular with the voters, more popular than the candidates right now, increases a vote for the candidates, increases enthusiasm for election, consolidates voters that are defecting and helps mobilize voters that are under energized right now. It is a remarkably strong policy and we were kind of flabbergasted, honestly, that the data was as high as it is,” Lake further stated.
AFU represents 1.1 million mixed-status families including U.S.-citizen spouses. These families represent a key base of “immigration voters” with a presence in crucial swing states, as detailed in a recent AFU memo. Some of them shared their personal stories:
Dr. Regina Cano, married for 12 years, from Ohio: “10 years ago, I received a devastating call from my husband while I was working in clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio — he was never coming home. He had left for Mexico for his visa interview, instead of a few months’ wait, he received a lifetime bar at his visa interview. President Biden and Senate Democrats — do not negotiate away the President’s parole authority in negotiations for foreign funding. This parole would not only enable our American family to return home to be with our family, but also work towards our dreams. And the idea that you would expose so many Ohio and American families to the terror of separation by expanding expedited removal is unconscionable. Please, President Biden, use your power to keep our families together, not to separate them.”
Megan, mother of four from Wisconsin: “I met my husband 20 years ago. We have kids, a mortgage and career. Expansion of parole and a work permit for my husband would be life-changing for us. For the president to strip away his own presidential authority in exchange for temporary funding will hurt American families like mine. News reports show expedited removals being on the table. Expedited removals and mass deportations is what we worried about under President Trump. I never thought I would under President Biden.”
Amanda Valencia from Michigan: “My husband was denied his visa during the interview in Mexico. He had to stay there and could not return with me and our children for 10 years. Last year, my husband’s family in Mexico let me know that due to the stress of this situation, my husband had suffered a brain aneurysm and needed emergency brain surgery. Our government failed to let him return here for treatment and to be with our family. It is disgusting that our government has forced us into so many dangerous situations. As a Michigan mom, I am begging President Biden: do not trade away our futures by giving up your parole authority, and do not force mixed-status families across Michigan and the nation to live in fear with Trump-era deportation policies.”
Ana Mirian Bellido of Jacksonville, Florida: “My husband was deported in 2018 due to outdated and ineffective immigration bars. Our children were 10 and 12-years-old. We are faced with the unbearable decision to uproot our entire family and leave the only country our children consider as theirs, or to separate ourselves and risk being apart for years, maybe even a decade or more. President Biden — it would be wrong for you to give away your ability to help my family and deny my kids the opportunity to be raised by both their parents. And it would be wrong for you to expose so many mixed-status families in this country to the terror of deportation. I would expect this from Gov. DeSantis maybe, but not from you.”
Allyson, whose husband is facing a 10-year bar, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “I am angry at how American families like mine keep getting thrown under the bus, and that today at 52 years of age, I’m still giving testimony of my two decades of experience as the U.S. citizen wife of an undocumented immigrant. If this issue warrants another 20 years of advocacy from me, it might be too late for my family. President Biden: do not trade away the hopes of Pennsylvanians and American families like mine by bringing back Trump-era deportation policies or giving up your parole authority!”
Liza Dupont, flight attendant and mother of two from Georgia: “My husband of 12 years is from Mexico and has NO criminal history. We met Salsa dancing here in Atlanta. On the very week we were married, we began the legal immigration process, but 3 years later we hit the ultimate roadblock, when we were advised that my husband could be subject to a LIFETIME bar from the US should he leave to attend his visa interview in Mexico. I can’t even receive a phone call from my husband without my heart skipping a beat for fear he’s been detained. I will never forgive any president or politician who trades away a chance to help my family, or forces us to live in even greater fear of separation.”
“As the leading advocates for over 700,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas, we call on President Biden to protect and expand humanitarian parole and to oppose the expedited removal of immigrants. Recently, the Texas Legislature passed SB4, a law that allows police officers to arrest and deport undocumented people,” said J.R. Gonzales, executive vice chairman of the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). “SB4 is bad enough for the Latino and business community. We don’t need to see similar policies from the Biden administration.”
Recent letter of 88 members of Congress urging parole expansion for mixed-status families
American Families United (AFU) is a non-partisan 501(c)(4) non-profit organization established in 2006. AFU proposes practical solutions to Congress and supports efforts to advance legislation that affects U.S. citizens married to foreign nationals. To show your support of the American Families United Act, click here: https://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/champions
TAMACC is a nonprofit 501 (c) 6 organization founded in 1975 to promote business leadership, create economic opportunities and provide legislative advocacy for the Hispanic business community in Texas. TAMACC is strategically headquartered in Buda, Texas and serves as the organizational umbrella for member Hispanic chambers and business organizations statewide.
ABIC Action was created to mobilize the power of American businesses and the general public to promote and advocate for sensible immigration solutions. ABIC Action will develop and advocate for legislation, regulations, and government programs that promote common-sense state and federal immigration reform to benefit the people and economy of our country. ABIC Action operates under federal income tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
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