Keep American Families Together By Expanding Work Permits for Spouses of U.S. Citizens

Most Americans assume that marrying a U.S. citizen offers a clear path to legal status. Not so. American Families United represents 1.1 million American families stuck in the limbo of our broken immigration system. 

That’s why this Valentine’s Day, American Families United is launching the “State of our Unions” campaign. Between Feb. 14 and President Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 7, we will collect thousands of signatures and host events in key swing states with one clear message: Keep our families together. 

Our families have worked and paid taxes in this country for years. We are like any other family. We fell in love with our spouses and committed to each other to build a family and a life together. 

But unfair, antiquated laws threaten to destroy our families, force us into the shadows, and have already separated loving spouses and American children from their parents. 

President Biden can put an end to this  — TODAY — by expanding work permits for long-term immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizen spouses  — and our U.S. citizen parents, friends and communities  — VOTE, and our report shows that we are present in large numbers across key states

President Biden has granted work permits to new arrivals from Afghanistan, Cuba, Ukraine, Venezuela and Haiti - we’re asking that he do the same for American families!



Jason Rochester and Family, Georgia

My name is Jason Rochester. My family has been separated for over 5 years now. My wife, Cecilia, currently lives in Mexico alone; and our son, Ashton, 9 years old, lives in Roswell, GA, with me and my mom, "Grandma." 

Unfortunately, 5 years ago my wife Cecilia had to return back to her home country of Mexico because of the barbaric immigration laws we have here in the U.S. To make things worse, just 6 months after her returning to Mexico, our son Ashton, who was only 5 years old at the time, was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Even though we tried everything we could to get Cecilia home legally, our government denied our Humanitarian Parole. She was denied the opportunity to be here for Ashton during his surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Ashton gets to spend only a small amount of time with Cecilia each year... usually only during the summer after school. I have even less time to spend with her. 

Our lives are being destroyed by the very laws that were meant to protect American Citizens. In 1996, IIRIRA was signed into law. It has ultimately caused so much pain and suffering to many millions of American Citizens who have simply fallen in love with and married someone who just wanted to have a better life and made the mistake of coming to our country as an undocumented immigrant. It's so ironic that something so simple to address and fix has wreaked havoc for nearly 30 years and still nothing has been done to fix this issue. 

It's appalling and disheartening that our elected Representatives continually overlook and ignore our families and continue to allow the separation of our spouses and children. Put yourself in our place and imagine how you would feel if you and your spouse were separated and your children had to endure years of separation from their parent all because of a cruel law that could easily be fixed, but no one seems to care enough to fight for it to be changed. 

Please consider our families and help us reunite. 

Liza & Family, Georgia

I met my husband, Oscar, while salsa dancing in Atlanta. We were married in 2012 and have 2 children. 

We have done everything possible within the framework of current immigration law to adjust Oscar’s status. 

However, despite having no criminal history, Oscar is still subject to a lifetime bar, 212(a) (9)(c), if he were to leave the country for his visa interview. 

Oscar is an amazing father, and is an incredible support to me financially and emotionally. He is the sole caregiver for our boys when I travel for my job as a flight attendant. 

I am consumed with anxiety and the fear that my husband could be deported one day. This threat is like living on the edge of a cliff, always on high alert for the fall. It affects every decision we make as a family and hinders us from our full potential.

"The experience of being married to someone who is excluded from so much in our society is a diminishing one. It has changed me. I became a flight attendant because of my enthusiasm for travel and my desire to experience other places and cultures. I always dreamed of traveling the world with my family. These days I meet families on my flights doing just that, while mine is prohibited from that experience. It's as if I am a second class citizen and my family is afforded less privileges and freedoms. It eats away at my self esteem, my vitality and my outlook on life."

Mirtha & Family, California

Mirtha, a U.S. citizen from Maywood, California, and her foreign national husband are parents to children with special needs. Her husband would receive a 10 year immigration ban if he tried to adjust his immigration status. 

Mirtha relies on support and services for her children that are only available to them in the U.S. If her husband was not allowed to remain in the U.S. with her, she would be facing a decade of separation without her husband's support, which would result in extreme hardship for both her children and herself.

Stephanie & Xavier 

For the 14 years we've been married, my husband and I haven't had the same freedoms as other Americans. Even though we've lived within hours of two different international borders, we could never travel to certain areas of our own states close to the border, let alone leave the country. I've never seen my husband's hometown in Mexico, and even though I'd like us to travel to many places in the world together, that's out of the question too. 

My husband was brought to the United States as a child just before his 8th birthday, and he grew up here without legal immigration status. After we got married, I naively thought he would be able to adjust his status and obtain permanent residency. After all, I'm a US citizen, born and raised here. If my husband can't get a green card, where would that leave me? I soon found out, marriage to me meant very little to the government, and his application was denied. The government deemed my husband "inadmissible" for immigration related violations, with no waiver available. Unless the law changes, he can’t adjust his status, and we will both be punished indefinitely. We are stuck in limbo, and he is at risk of deportation. After being denied, his case progressed to a removal order, which remains today. 

After his denial, the DACA program was announced for people brought to the country as children. We were disappointed to learn that his birthday was just outside the cutoff date. He wasn't eligible. Year after year, we listened to politicians talk about comprehensive immigration reform, believing each time that things would change. We're still waiting. 

Because of his removal order, my husband is now under an order of supervision by ICE. The constant threat of deportation makes us think about our future often. It is deeply upsetting to know that I could be forced to leave my life, my home, and the rest of my family here in the US. My parents would grow old without our help nearby. I will have to live the rest of my life in a foreign country, trying to speak a foreign language. We would never be able to come home together.

Vito & Courtney 

Vito is a talented, hardworking, and responsible man who came here out of economic desperation. He made his life here and makes meaningful contributions to our community, such as volunteering as a translator at the Center for Conflict Resolution, mentoring foster youth and teaching dance classes. He still works at the same garden nursery where he started 16 years ago. 

We pay taxes. We are not criminals. I cannot fathom how it benefits the U.S. to tear our family apart and deport him. We have a great life together and are about to have our first child. I cannot live without him. 

Markowitz Family, Colorado

Veteran Exiled in Canada 

Rocio and I met at her work in Colorado in 2001, where she worked as a machine operator and I provided technical services as an outside vendor. We were both married at the time and our relationship was professional. At one point it became apparent she was not working there any longer and it was a few months later that I saw she had returned. 

By this time, we were both divorced and we struck up an easy and friendly relationship. As our relationship progressed to dating, I learned she had left the US to seek specialist medical care for one of her sons. I learned she was unlawfully present in the US and did not have access to such medical care in the US. 

When we decided to marry in 2002, I had no concern that I wouldn't be to help Rocio normalize her immigration status. After all, I was a US citizen and family unity is a value I believed was an incorporated part of US immigration policy. I was wrong. 

Amanda & Family, Michigan

My name is Amanda Valencia. I am a US citizen and I am married to an undocumented immigrant. We have two children together. Due to immigration issues my husband has been living in Mexico since 2021. When we lived together in the US he was working and contributing to society. He had a great job and was constantly doing community service projects for the city. We went through the whole immigration process, but he was denied his visa in Mexico, which means he can’t return for 10 years, and no he’s not a criminal. Recently he had an accident and had to get emergency brain surgery due to a brain hemorrhage. We are now staying with him in Mexico until he recovers. My daughter is missing school and I had to take a leave of absence from work. We also have to pay out of pocket for all his medical bills which are thousands of USD. We were already struggling between visits to Mexico and living off one income

Susan & Abdelhakim, New York

My name is Susan Houmita and I have been married to my husband, Abdelhakim Houmita, an Algerian national, for nearly nine years. I met Kim while waiting in line at a clothing store near where I work. He was soft-spoken and had kind eyes. Our first date was on New Year's Eve. He asked me to marry him a little over a year later. We were married in June of 2014. 

What drew me to Kim was how kind, generous, and thoughtful he was. He was always bringing me small gifts and when he met my family, there were gifts for them as well. He is sensitive and can always tell when something is bothering me, even if it’s just a headache. He is supportive, listens, and gives good advice. 

When Kim first told me the long story of how he came to the U.S. he talked nonstop for two hours. He told me about the civil war in Algeria in the 90s. He told me civilians were massacred. At the end of his story, I was just in awe of how difficult it was for him, how long it took, and the hardships he endured to get here. 

On Aug 26, 2018, Kim was detained when he inadvertently drove into Canada. He was held in detention in Batavia, NY for nearly three years. We were told he was going to be deported without a hearing because he had a visa waiver attached to his passport which denied him any right to immigration proceedings. If he was deported he would be barred from entering the U.S. for 10 years. 

His detention brought immense stress into both our lives and extended to both our families. He has a son, Imani, from a previous relationship, who missed the last three years of his adolescence with his father. 

In April 2021, he was finally released on Humanitarian Parole. We live day to day now, with no idea of what the future holds for us. Whenever I have told anyone our story they would inevitably say, “But I don’t understand, you’re married?!” And I tell them that unfortunately, that means next to nothing when someone is found inadmissible by USCIS. It feels like the very last thing that is considered.

Adriana & Family

Our story begins in 2001 when we met in Sacramento, California. Jose and I dated for five and a half years before we married. In 2006 we married and were excited to start a new life together. Understanding my new husband's immigration status, I was excited to finally be able to have security when submitting his petition. At the start of the process he was fingerprinted and the attorney informed us that he had been charged with a false claim to citizenship. At that point the attorney informed us that we should stop pursuing his case. He told us to attempt to live a "normal" life without being able to adjust his status. 

After hearing the news, we were devastated and it took us a long time to move on from the idea of him not having permanent residency. We have tried our best at normalcy. There are many things we are thankful for like our home and our four beautiful children. My husband is the eldest of six siblings and all of his siblings have become US citizens and are able to come and go freely. He has missed many funerals and weddings and our children have not had the experience of traveling out of the country with their father. In 2014, we discovered AFU and felt like we belonged to a larger group of people who are suffering like us. I pray that change comes soon not only for us but all of the families who are living in very difficult situations. 

Jenni & Family, North Carolina


My husband and I both came from broken and dysfunctional families and we vowed to make sure that our children grew up with all the love and security we never had. When we found out that we could not "fix" our situation without a 10- year minimum family separation, it crushed me. My anxiety kicked in and has never let up. That was in 2008. 

IMAGINE getting up every morning and starting to worry about your spouse from the moment they leave the house until the moment they return. Imagine every time the phone rings during the day that your heart sinks because you fear the worst. Imagine trying to reach your spouse during the day only to have the phone go to voicemail, but then you stop breathing a little until the phone call is returned. This is only a fraction of the anxiety I feel every day. 

IMAGINE having to worry about the home purchase you make and whether it can be made with only one income- just in case. Imagine not being able to enjoy life and spend money on things others freely enjoy (like vacations) because you are worried that the worst will come and you cannot bear to not be as prepared as possible. Imagine every vacation you go on must be somewhere you can drive. Imagine that you have only been able to visit your own mother across the country in her home twice since 2008 because you fear spending money or leaving your spouse alone- just in case. 

IMAGINE having children and trying to be loving and caring but in the background always worried. Imagine what it is like to have to hide the truth from your children even though you vowed to always be honest with them. Imagine having to then tell your children about your situation and then telling them that they can NEVER tell anyone because we never know who we can trust. Imagine how you are handing off your anxiety to your children and making them grow up too fast as they then also have to live in the world of the unknown. 

I have been asking for help from my elected officials since 2008 and nobody has done anything to fix our situation. IMAGINE how isolating that has been for so long. Imagine how our dreams were crushed by the news that we could not stay together as a family without living in fear or leaving the only country I have ever known. We need your help. Our family needs your help. Our U.S. Citizen children (future scientists/doctors/lawyers/engineers) need your help.

Cecilia & Family

Cecilia is a U.S. citizen. She has been living in the shadows with fear, worry, and sadness since 2017, when she began her relationship with her husband, who she married in 2021. Together they have a young daughter. Due to the threat of the permanent bar, Cecilia fears that she and her young daughter will be separated from her husband and suffer emotionally and economically, as her husband is the main provider in their household.

Guillermo & Family

My name is Guillermo, I am married to a person who, due to a mistake when she was 15 years old, was punished without being able to fix her immigration situation. 

She is the engine of my marriage. We have been married for 25 years and I have had to experience the pain that she feels when she cannot have the freedom to do what a citizen like me does. As a citizen of this great country, I should have the right to have my wife with me and freely!! We have 3 beautiful children. Our eldest son is 21 years old and is a soldier in the Navy. Our middle son studies at college, and our youngest daughter studies in high school. 

Life for us is not normal, always hiding because my wife can't fix her status. Everything would be different if, as a citizen of this country, you listened to my request! Thanks for your attention!

The Sanchez Family 

We are the Sanchez family from Texas. My husband and I have two children, ages 4 and 6, with a third on the way. My children and I are US citizens, and my husband is not. 

We have tried to obtain status for my husband, but without the American Families United Act, we are not able to, due to his multiple entries. Jose is a wonderful husband and father. To everyone he is a kind and hardworking man. Our kids adore him and I am not complete without him. 

Unfortunately, we do not have the freedoms that many families in the US have. Due to our state, my husband can't get a driver's license. Therefore, there are evenings I worry he will get pulled over and not come home. He has not seen his family in 7 years. Our children have not met his family, their grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins. 

It is so difficult to be so happy and in love with your significant other and family, while at the same time be terrified that your family can be torn apart at any moment. Our kids will suffer, as their dad is their world. I can't imagine them not being able to be with him. We want to live in peace. We want to be together without these worries. He is our family, my husband, our children's father, and so much more. He deserves better. We deserve better. And we need this law to pass. Please help. 

“We do not have the freedoms that many families in the US have.”

The DeSouza Family, separated

We are a blended family. Jonathan and I got married in 2015. He has 2 daughters from a previous marriage and I have 1 son from a previous marriage. We had a little boy together in 2016, the same year that I started my immigration process. 

We got everything approved - even the waiver in 2019 - and I finally got my interview in Brazil in July 2021. I had included all my history on the waiver application, including the 2 illegal entries, but the Embassy still denied my Visa. 

I've been living in Brazil with the kids since then. My husband stayed in the US working hard to support our family. We don't have health insurance, we don't have good schools or even safety here in Brazil. The immigration system destroyed our dreams and is still hurting our family. 

We are good and honest people. We just want to go home and be together.

Jan & Antonio, Exiled in Mexico

We met in 1998 and it was love at first sight. We lived together for years. We decided to get married in 2012 and get legal status for Antonio. We had no idea about the IIRIRA law. We applied for the I-130 and it was approved. The rest was a nightmare... legal fees etc. just to find out we were not able to get legal status. We were both married before, but this was different, definitely LOVE. My mother even loved him. She did not live long enough to see his status change. She would have done anything to see it happen. 

Now it is 2023, we sold my house in 2019 and moved to Mexico in hopes of getting legal status from there, still not totally knowing about the law. Our attorney never told us, only took our money. We decided to file for a tourist visa, thinking it didn't matter if he had residency as long as he could go back to the U.S. Ciudad Juarez told us one form was missing, only to find out it was destroyed by USCIS because of inactivity. Again no solution. I am 63 years old and on SSD. I have exiled to be with my husband - first off because I love him, but also because I need him to help me. In the last year I have fallen 3 times and thank God he was there to help me. We have no extra funds for more lawyer fees, and the hundreds of letters I have sent to the agencies have gotten us nowhere. 

We are not alone, millions of U.S. citizens are in the same situation. I would like to be able to return to the U.S. with him LEGALLY and be with my family. My brother is the only one left and he now has cancer. There has to be a solution to this.

Patty & Family, separated

This is my family. We have been separated by immigration for 9 years. I am a US citizen and I have to travel back and forth alone with my daughters to see my husband. 

Being separated has affected us tremendously, both financially and mentally. I am constantly debating whether I should finish my education since it is hard for me to be the family's sole provider and go to school. My daughters already suffer from their father's absence and they don't want to lose me to work also. My daughters are getting older and it is getting more difficult to return. I have developed depression due to the separation. Whenever we come back to the US from seeing their father, my daughters and I have a difficult time adjusting. 

“You can see the happiness in our faces when we’re together, and the sadness when we have to say goodbye.”

Megan & Carlos Exiled in Mexico

We were married in 2005 and have one 11 year old son. We have been together since 2001. My husband had been in the US since 2000 when his sister was diagnosed with leukemia and he moved to the US to pay for her chemo treatments. We lived in MN. My husband was a kitchen manager and I was a Kindergarten teacher until moving to Mexico in 2018 because living in the US without documentation became too dangerous and stressful for our family. 

I have a Masters degree in education. My husband earned his GED in 2018 in the US, and is now in his last semester of law school in Mexico. Where we live in Mexico is a very dangerous area. There are shootings, kidnappings and robberies frequently on the street where we live. I cannot go anywhere by myself because my son and I are targets as American citizens. Also in 2012, I was diagnosed with lupus and the health care options for me in Mexico are lacking. 

“I was a Kindergarten teacher until moving to Mexico…”


Anna and Family, separated

Our story begins like so many others. We met while dancing and fell in love. That love turned into marriage and an amazing son, born in 2013. We knew that we wanted to fix my husband's immigration status, but what we didn't imagine was that the only way to do that was for my husband to leave the USA and return to Honduras to complete 5 and 10 year bars. We knew that we wanted to stay together during this time so we planned our family's move to Honduras. 

Shortly after arriving we realized that Honduras was not a place that we could safely raise our son. Our son and I returned to the USA after living in Honduras with my husband for a year. Our plan was to visit every summer, since I am a teacher that would work out well. Then COVID hit and we were unable to see him for two years. At 6 years old our son, a US citizen, could not see his father for two years. We have since been able to visit him, but seeing him for a few weeks at a time is not enough. 

Being apart has taken a toll on our mental health and we have suffered financially as well. We are doing our best to give our son a good life despite being apart, but it is not the same as being together. We need a chance to be able to bring my husband back to the USA with me and his son where he belongs. 


Lizbetz and Family, separated

“It's always the last hugs that hurt the most... and seeing my husband standing alone as our bus drives away.”

Hello, my name is Lizbetz. My husband and I got married in May 2003. We have been married for 19 years, but lived together for only six since my husband got deported in Sept 2009. During the six years together we had our first two kids. They were only two and three years old when their dad was deported. How do you think Dad felt when he was being taken from the family we had barely started? It's not fair. It's not fair that my kids' dad, my husband, was taken from our lives. It wasn't easy and it still isn't easy. 

I was alone and scared and I didn't know what our family would grow into. I didn't have my husband to give me emotional support and keep me reassured, but especially to keep me from falling apart. So my husband and I decided to all live in Mexico. So our kids and I left for Mexico in 2012, and I thank God who kept and keeps us safe till this day. We stayed for a couple of years and then had our third child who today is eight. 

In Mexico, there aren't any steady jobs or good education, so my husband and I decided for me to take our kids back to the U.S. We had to learn to live again, but now there were three kids and still only one parent. I know it's difficult for my husband because of the many birthdays, special holidays, and graduations he has to miss. 

I also know this has affected my kids because they always tell me how much they wish their dad were here to enjoy the things they have. I know they go through their personal problems and how much they would love to receive advice from both their parents. My 

oldest always tells me the things she experiences and how she feels about certain things. Whenever she breaks down crying because of school or maybe life, I know that her dad would know 100% how to console her. Our second oldest is very reserved so it's hard to say how he deals with his hardships. And our youngest is always happy to hear from Dad, so he is like a little ball of joy and innocence. 

Every year when schools are out we go and visit my husband. Time is very short and goes by quickly. I'm glad that we can have the opportunity to reconnect on a personal level with him every time we visit. Every year we get to catch up on life and learn to live again, but then when it's time to leave it's as if everything resets, and we're back to zero. It's always the last hugs that hurt the most, seeing our kids calm down after having said their goodbyes, and seeing my husband stay there standing alone as our bus drives away. Summer vacations are what my family always looks forward to. We never knew that this whole process would be like this, but we are thankful for what has been achieved and everything we've overcome together as a family. So please consider passing the American Families United Act. Many families hope to receive this miracle soon. 

Kali & Family, Minneapolis

I am the Treasurer of American Families United. I met my husband in 2004 and we married in 2007, after dating long-distance for over a year while I served as a missionary in Guatemala. He supported me while I started a youth organization that focused on community building, gang prevention, and Christian discipleship. 

I found American Families United in 2014 and have been involved with administrative leadership and advocacy efforts since then, often with my dad and son in tow. Me, my husband, son, and stepson are a family that is impacted by the limitations of the legal immigration system. Without waiver reform and the ability to follow the law to fix my husband's immigration status, we live in constant fear of being separated. We don't take any day together for granted.

I serve American Families United on a volunteer basis. I am employed full time by the City of Minneapolis as a Crime Prevention Specialist. In April 2021, Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey, issued a proclamation in honor of our family, and to urge Congress to pass the American Families United Act to protect mixed status families from cruel separation. 


Jorge and Daniela, separated

We have been married for 14 years. My kids are Angie and Jacob. We live in Texas. I'm a US Citizen married to an immigrant. My family is separated because of the harsh and cruel immigration laws. We're praying for changes that will reunite and keep families together like the American Families United Act. We need our Representatives to step up for families. We are suffering.  

Kristen & Family separated

My husband has lived half of his life in the US. He has no criminal record, is an entrepreneur, pays his taxes (ITIN to pay taxes and EIN to have a company, so he pays into SS even though he will never get anything back from it), and is a kind person. He salts the elderly couple's front step so they don't fall, he laughs, and loves, and plays with his children. He works so hard. He would do show and tell at Oscar's nature pre-school, and bring coconuts for the kids to try, and talk about how it was really a seed. He went snow shoeing with the kids in the winter at the school. 

We were married in 2012. Our daughter was born in 2016, and we wanted to bring him out of the shadows. I applied for an I-130 which was approved, and we filled out waiver I 601a which was also approved. Unfortunately, we had poor legal council, and since my husband had re-entered the country after a voluntary departure around 2007, he had accumulated more than 180 days in the USA. When he left in January of 2021, in preparation for his interview at the beginning of February, we thought he was coming home in a week or two. Our attorney just took our money, and all of our time and years, as did immigration, and when my husband left excitedly for his interview, the exit triggered a permanent bar. At that time, our baby wasn't even one. Our son was three, and our daughter five. It was devastating. 

My daughter and son used to bicker a lot. Oscar would defend daddy's absence, and tell his big sister that daddy was coming home because Daniel Tiger sings, "grown ups come back." Hilaire would shout at him that he was never coming home. Oscar would cry and ask me why the "bad guys" wouldn't let daddy come home. I'm crying just writing about it. 

In order to keep my family together, I have to abandon my aging dad and the company that I built, to bring my children to live in a beautiful but 3rd world country. I'm a US citizen with three US citizen children. How can they run me out of my country like that? 

Even in a divorce in the States, the dad would still be here, the kids would still see him on the weekends, he could financially support the family, and that's a separation by choice. Immigration tore us apart for trying to do the right thing. There is nothing crueler than that. 

A permanent bar is the worst. It's condemning families that love each other to be torn apart against their will. It makes widows out of wives, and orphans out of children.


Herminia & Family

My name is Herminia, and I have been married for 11 years. I'm a US citizen, and my husband and I have 3 boys: Diego, Leo, and Julian. 

Last year, we decided to do our religious wedding. I have been looking for the opportunity to fix my husbands residency since we got married. It was very sad for me to learn the only way he can get his residency is if he goes to Mexico for 10 years. We want our boys to have the opportunity to grow up with both of their parents and being separated for 10 years is a lifetime.



Jazmin and Family, separated

I met my husband in 2008. We dated for 2 years when he finally asked me to be his wife. We got married in 2010 and we have been together since then for almost 13 years. We have 2 wonderful kids Axel who is 11 and Evelyn who is 8. One year after we got married I suggested we look into applying for Permanent Residency. I am a U.S. Citizen born and raised in the state of California. We were excited to start the process mostly because he hadn't seen his mom and close family for a long time. 

We went to the first attorney and had an interview. They asked my husband questions about how he arrived and it turns out he did not qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility because of the multiple entry rule. The attorney told us that there was nothing we could do about his situation, except hope and pray for immigration reform. We left the office sad but we were like "hey let's get a second, third and fourth opinion" and unfortunately all the attorneys gave us the same response. Twelve years later and here we are still waiting for a reform that would shed light on our situation. 

My husband came to this country at the age of 15 looking for an opportunity to give his single mother and 3 siblings a better life. My husband has not seen his family back in Mexico for over 18 years. He has lost a lot of loved ones including his grandfather, his 

father whom he had recently reconnected with and 2 siblings. My husband is a great husband, father and son. He is a hard working man who loves his family unconditionally and works long shifts to give us and his mother back in Mexico a decent life. He is also 

an essential worker in the construction industry and every year he has been paying taxes and contributing to this wonderful country. 

This situation has brought me anxiety and depression. My kids somewhat understand their dad's situation and worry for him. He is the pillar in our home and we need him here with us. Here we are in 2023 and we are hopeful for a change in immigration law and pray daily for reform.. We are not asking for automatic citizenship or a free pass.

Gina & Family, Exiled to Mexico

I am a U.S. citizen born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where 3 generations of my family have lived. My husband and I met in the summer of 2006 when we both worked in a Mexican restaurant in my hometown. We dated for 5 years while I finished college and started medical school. He supported me through it all, enduring long distance and long hours of study and work. While we didn’t know it, we would endure even more separation after we married. We applied to change his immigration status shortly after our wedding in 2011, and a year and a half later, he left for Mexico to go to his immigrant visa interview. Our petition was denied, and he received not only the 10- year bar we were expecting to request a waiver for, but also a permanent bar we never dreamed we would have to face. 

I will never forget his call from Ciudad Juarez while I was seeing patients in our resident clinic in Cincinnati. He was never coming home. We decided it was best for me to stay in Cincinnati for 2 years to finish 

my residency. I was only able to travel to Mexico twice during those 2 years. Then after turning down a dream job offer, I left to start our life again in Mexico. In the 8 years since, we’ve had a son who is navigating 

his dual nationality identity, my husband has been robbed 3 times – once at gunpoint, and I have traveled back and forth countless times to continue to work in the U.S., covering in nursing homes and clinics especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The American Families United Act is our only hope to return home to Cincinnati to be with our family and restart our careers – me as a family physician and my husband dreams of opening his own restaurant. We have dreams for our son to have all the opportunities I had as a U.S. citizen and my husband dreamed of when coming to the U.S. The only way for us to pursue those dreams and live together permanently is for the American Families United Act to pass. The time is now!