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‘This Is My Country, My Life is Here’: Digital Ad Spotlights Need To Protect Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

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Rosa Elena Sánchez says that she and her husband Everk “were meant to be together.” But without action from the Biden administration, their life together is uncertain. Their story is featured in a new FWD.us digital ad highlighting the urgent need for the president to act on relief for American families and protect the undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens.

“I am a U.S. citizen,” Everk says in the ad. “You believe when you get married to an immigrant spouse, she will become a U.S. citizen. And my surprise, it didn’t happen.” Rosa Elena, a DACA recipient, said that when she received a letter telling her she had one month to leave the U.S, she was “destroyed. This is my country, my life is here.”

More than one million undocumented immigrants are married to a U.S. citizen, and expanding their eligibility for immigration relief including work permits and a path to citizenship “could allow hundreds of thousands of these individuals who have lived in the U.S. for years to complete their immigration process and secure permanent legal status,” FWD.us said, “ensuring that they can stay safe and together with their families and contribute even more significantly to the U.S. economy.” Watch the ad below:

These families contribute more than $21 billion in federal and payroll taxes annually, FWD.us said. It’s also important for peace of mind for millions of U.S. citizen children that live with at least one undocumented family member. In recent weeks, federal and local lawmakers, business voices, labor leaders, and communities have also been calling on the administration to act on relief for long-settled immigrants. 

“Our request is rooted in the belief that extending the dignity of legal authorization to work for our residents born in Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and other countries would be a positive step forward,” more than 40 mayors and county leaders wrote in one letter. “These individuals have embraced the United States as their home and have, over decades, worked diligently, paid taxes, raised families, started businesses, and bought homes.” 

RELATED: Over 40 Bipartisan Mayors and County Executives To President Biden: Let Long-Settled Immigrants Work Legally, More Fully Contribute to Economy

Lawmakers, Business and Labor Voices, and Communities Urge Biden Administration to Protect Families, Boost Economy By Expanding Work Permits to Immigrant Spouses of U.S. Citizens

‘Gave Me the Opportunity to Finish College’: How Expanding Work Permits for Long-Settled Immigrants Benefits U.S. Citizen Children Too