"Individuals who remain in the U.S. without authorization for more than 12 months and then depart are barred from re-entering through any legal channel for at least 10 years."
When individuals remain in the U.S. without authorization for more than 12 months and then depart, they are barred from re-entering the U.S. through any legal channel for at least 10 years.
This is the situation facing millions of mixed-status families across the U.S., like Sylvia Alvera Flores and her husband and children, who are subject to re-entry bars like the three- and ten-year bars. She came to the U.S. undocumented when she was 7, and has lived here ever since. And even though her husband and three children are all U.S. citizens, there is no way for them to sponsor Sylvia for legal status, unless she takes the tremendous risk of leaving the U.S.—and her family—to wait out her re-entry bars before applying to return many years later.
These legal re-entry bars make it impossible for long-term undocumented immigrants, many of them spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, to “get in line” to receive a valid visa. Since the re-entry bars were created, the number of undocumented immigrants remaining permanently in the U.S. has grown substantially.
By repealing the bars and allowing immigrants with deep ties to the U.S. to access the legal pathways for which they qualify, Congress could help keep American families together.