Given the ever-increasing restrictions on immigrants at the federal level, I want to be perfectly clear: Parenting Journey will always be a welcoming place for all members of our community – regardless of immigration status.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2019
Parenting Journey joins more than 150 organizations to urge U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to fully restore deferred action request policy
Advocacy comes in response to USCIS letters to applicants saying the agency will no longer consider most deferrals of deportation for people with serious medical conditions
SOMERVILLE, MASS., September 6, 2019 – Parenting Journey, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and more than 150 nonprofit organizations from across the United States have sent a letter to USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli calling for the agency to fully restore acceptance and adjudication of deferred action requests.
“Given the ever-increasing restrictions on immigrants at the federal level, I want to be perfectly clear: Parenting Journey will always be a welcoming place for all members of our community – regardless of immigration status. Immigrants make our community stronger and we’re proud to have partnered with many immigrant parents through our programs,” said Parenting Journey Executive Director Imari Paris Jeffries.
Parenting Journey offers therapeutic parent support groups in a range of languages, including Spanish and Portuguese, as well as a program designed to address the unique challenges immigrant parents face as they—and their children—adapt to American culture.
The agency sent letters to applicants for the “medical deferred action” program, which allows people to remain in the U.S. for a two-year period if they can prove extreme medical need, saying that most deferral requests will no longer be considered. Many of those affected by this policy change came to the U.S. through a visa or other permitted status and are requesting to stay beyond those terms to receive treatment.
“Parenting Journey will always stand with our immigrant friends and neighbors. This policy shift by USCIS reflects an abandonment of American values and our proud history of offering sanctuary and humanitarian support to those who need it most,” Paris Jeffries said.
“While we are encouraged that the agency has agreed to reopen some cases, that is an inadequate step in the right direction and does not do enough to protect lives and protect families struggling with a seriously ill family member,” he continued. On September 2, the agency announced it would reopen cases that were pending as of August 7.
The organizations’ letter says, in part, “Reopening the denied deferred action requests pending as of August 7, 2019 fails to resolve these fundamental problems. Individuals whose reopened requests ultimately get approved by USCIS will not be able to renew their deferred action in the future without undergoing deportation proceedings. Meanwhile, individuals who already submitted requests after August 7—many of whom were unaware of the change in policy due to USCIS’s failure to provide any public notice —as well as individuals who will submit requests for initial or renewed deferred action after that date—face the same predicament. Only by reversing the policy in its entirety—by wholly restoring USCIS’s acceptance and adjudication of deferred action requests—can the agency continue to ensure that vulnerable children and families are able to receive life-saving protection.”
The letter and list of signers can be viewed here: https://parentingjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/USCIS-Sign-On-Letter-Regarding-Deferred-Action.pdf
Parenting Journey’s work is inspired by the belief that strong families are the foundation of vibrant healthy communities and the catalyst to ignite social change. The organization is dedicated to providing programs that uplift parents and caregivers and strengthen families and communities, advocating for equitable family policies, and disrupting the social narrative around parenting in poverty.
Parenting Journey envisions a world where all parents and caregivers have access to the resources they need to build resilient families and thrive, no matter their race or socioeconomic background.
Media Contact: Nicole Mazzarella, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617.337.6517