Harlem Representative Adriano Espaillat Introduces the Family Reunification Act Of 2021

May 26, 2021

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) reintroduced the Family Reunification Act of 2021, to help ease the burden on immigrant families and workers.

This will be done by providing them with certainty regarding their status by reopening a critical path to legal status set forth in Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, shielding immigrants from the overly punitive three- and 10-year bars, by eliminating the outdated application deadline.

“We continue our efforts to reform our nation’s broken immigration system, and I am proud to reintroduce the Family Reunification Act to help immigrant families recover from the onslaught of attacks we witnessed during the previous administration,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “My bill will help lessen the burden immigrant families and asylum seekers face when in search of hope and opportunity here in America.”

“I am proud to join Rep. Espaillat in introducing the Family Reunification Act of 2021,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51). “This bill will reaffirm our commitment to our immigrant communities and help restore protections in our immigration laws by removing high fines and providing individuals with more certainty regarding their immigration status.”

“We applaud the introduction of this pro-family, pro-commonsense piece of legislation. By restoring existing, yet largely dormant, provisions in our immigration laws, this bill would allow many longtime residents with qualifying family members the opportunity to come out of the shadows and get right with the law. This bill also represents important progress towards modernizing our immigration system, which began earlier this year when the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise and Farm Workforce Modernization Acts,” said Carlos A. Guevara, Associate Director for Immigration Policy, UnidosUS.

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The Family Reunification Act of 2021 will reopen the critical path to legal status set forth in Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, shielding immigrants from the overly punitive three- and 10-year bars, by eliminating the outdated application deadline.

Critically, the bill would also shield from removal proceedings any individual who has an application pending with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services or has had an application approved by USCIS but is waiting for a visa to become available.

Finally, the bill includes language from the U.S. Citizenship Act to re-establish the V-visa category. This non-immigrant visa category was established through bipartisan legislation known as the LIFE Act, and allowed those awaiting an immigrant visa to join family members to remain in the United States while waiting for an immigrant visa to become available.

This measure will finally provide certainty to countless, law-abiding immigrant families.

The bill has been endorsed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Church World Service, Immigration Equality Action Fund, Immigration Hub, Make the Road NY, National Immigration Law Center, New York Immigration Coalition, Partnership for New Americans, UnidosUS, and United We Dream.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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