On June 9, legislation passed by voice vote in the Senate will keep widows, widowers, and orphans of deceased U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, who are currently in the family immigration system, from getting deported.
If the sponsoring relative dies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service generally revoke petitions for immigration or deport his or her beneficiaries.
More than 200 spouses of U.S. citizens are currently contending deportation. Even more legal immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have been deported because of the deaths of their beneficiaries.
Provisions of the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill remedy this.
The Hatch amendment ensures that government will continue to process family-based applications of a resident petitioner’s family members, even if the petitioner dies.
“The passage of this key piece of legislation is a step forward in fixing our broken immigration policy through common sense, comprehensive solutions,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center.
Provisions in the bill were spearheaded by Senators Robert Mendendez (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
However, Narasaki said a lasting solution to U.S. immigration problems is still elusive.
“The Senate needs to do more and focus on a comprehensive and workable solution,” Narasaki said. “The time to reform our immigration system is now, and we will continue to urge the president and Congress to pass legislation this year.” ♦
The Asian American Justice Center works closely with the Asian American Institute in Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles to defend and advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans.