There is little doubt that keeping mixed status families – part immigrant, part American – together is one of the most pressing issues facing immigration reform advocates today.
This is why we invited Chasity Brewster Alvarez, founder of Fair Unity, to be our first guest on Batara Immigration Live.
Over the course of a few months, Chasity went from being a spouse of an undocumented immigrant with no knowledge about immigration issues to the leader of one of the internet’s largest immigrant family support groups.
The Road To Family Unity Advocacy
Chasity’s immigration education began when her husband was placed in removal proceedings. He had been stopped for driving without a license. Shortly afterwards, ICE filed deportation charges against him. She went with him to immigration court in Chicago, an eight hour journey each way to and from her home in Greenburg, Indiana.
Before then Chasity was clueless about the immigration process. She thought, as a United States citizen, she could immigrate her husband without too much hassle.
She did not know about the 3 and 10 year bars for immigrants who had entered the U.S. without inspection and was unaware about that extreme hardship meant.
In short, she knew nothing about immigration. Up until that point, she had buried her head in the sand, refusing to even listen to any kind of immigration talk.
Education For Immigrants Is Critical For Success
Today, Chasity is the founder of Fair Unity, a Facebook immigration group, and asserts spouses and parents of U.S. Citizens must be a priority for true immigration reform.
Fair Unity believes that a country which enforces immigration policies that rip mothers and fathers from each other, or from their children, is not a country that prides itself on family values.
In Chasity’s view, lack of education is the number one problem for immigrants seeking to legalize their status in the United States.
Immigrant families need more advocates who can serve as a support system for immigrants who are lost in the immigration system. Her organization, Fair Unity, attempts to fill this role and act as an immigration center for its membership.
And despite several other organizations helping out, many immigrants remain trapped without any legal assistance due to sparse resources.
Question: What can you do, in your own life or the lives of another family, to help immigrants avoid separation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.