Keeping Families Together: A Policy Report on the American Families United Act

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Keeping Families Together: A Policy Report on the American Families United Act

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Since the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996, 270,000 spouses of United States (U.S.) citizens have been deported and an additional 340,000 legal immigration applications for spouses of U.S. citizens have been refused (National Immigration Forum, 2021). Nearly 1.7 million U.S. citizens have a spouse who is undocumented (Connor, 2021). American Families United began their work in 2013 to pass the American Families United Act and provide much-needed relief to families, specifically for noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens. Over the course of the last nine years, this volunteer-led organization has advocated on behalf of the thousands of families affected by a number of immigration policies that criminalize migration. Currently 65 Democrat representatives and 3 Republican representatives are co-sponsoring the American Families United Act. This report aims to aid American Families United in its advocacy by illuminating the policy landscape surrounding immigration at the federal level, informing strategies to build bipartisanship support for the American Families United Act, and providing information that may help build the organization and align with similar organizations in the migrant advocacy space.


Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Affairs degree.

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Ofori-Atta, Eric; Ryu, Eric; Urueta, Brenda. (2022). Keeping Families Together: A Policy Report on the American Families United Act. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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