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Mixed-status families call for immigration reform, protections for non-citizen spouses

In some cases, mixed-status families are vulnerable to being torn apart by deportation.
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Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 00:50:04-04

DENVER — American Families United and the American Business Immigration Coalition gathered Wednesday to call for immigration reform for mixed-status families.

A mixed-status family includes U.S. citizens and non-citizens. In some cases, those families are vulnerable to being torn apart by deportation.

"No one can explain why the law must punish American families this way," said Ed Markowitz, a member of American Families United.

The groups on Wednesday addressed their desire for more legal protections for mixed-status families.

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin wrote a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday urging reform. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D - Colorado) was one of several U.S. Senate Democrats who added their signatures to it.

The letter called on the administration to "create a process to allow undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens to seek parole, on a case-by-case basis, if doing so would be warranted for urgent humanitarian reasons or to advance a significant public benefit." It also asked the government to allow spouses of U.S. citizens to work while their green card cases are pending.

The letter goes on to request increased "access to lawful permanent resident status for immigrants who are vital contributors to their American families—often as caregivers to children with acute needs—and our communities." Finally, the letter requests a pathway to citizenship for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Lynn Tramonte said the impact of those reforms could have a positive impact on the country's labor market.

"In Colorado, over 190,000 U.S. citizens live in a mixed-status household, where some members are citizens or legal permanent residents and others are undocumented," she said. "Like the rest of the nation, Colorado also faces a dire worker shortage, with 52 workers for every 100 open jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Undocumented immigrants in Colorado contribute $441.6 million in taxes and wield a spending power of $3.6 billion."

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