Late Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama announced a landmark new order to cease the deportation of certain classes of young immigrants. Students and other individuals under 30, who arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday and have graduated from high school or an equivalent program, will have an opportunity to apply to remain in the country. The Department of Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) will institute a work visa system providing young people with a path to citizenship.
“I applaud President Obama for taking this major step not only for the immigrant community but for the future of our country,” said Rep. Forry of the announcement. “We are all know our immigration system is unsustainable. These issues are not new but it has taken the President’s leadership, once again tackling the tough decisions, to get it done. We must continue to work towards comprehensive immigration reform, including the establishment of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.”
Similar reforms to the Immigration system, including the Dream Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but failed to get through the Senate despite bipartisan suport. Rep. Forry has been a strong advocate for the Dream Act and other reforms to our nation’s immigration system including expanding family reunification. In January, she began a four month petition drive to urge USCIS to establish a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. The initiative would be modeled after the Cuban program, allowing those already approved for visas to wait in the United States with their families rather than in Haiti. Rep. Forry and her coalition partners collected over 6,000 petitions and submitted them during Haitian Heritage Month in May.