Thursday, January 28, 2016

Family Reunification

Family Reunification

One of the topics that came up during my week in Rome for USF’s Academic Global Immersion program was, unaccompanied child. There was a lot of discussion around unaccompanied children and the large number coming into Europe – this is also the case in the United States, especially around the US/Mexican border. 

As stated in, “According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)…between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, CBP encountered 67,339 unaccompanied children.  “Unaccompanied alien child” (UAC) is a technical term defined by law as a child who “(A) has no lawful immigration stat¬us in the United States; (B) has not attained 18 years of age; and (C) with respect to whom—(i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or (ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.” With the large number of minors coming into the EU and the US – this got me thinking about family reunification. There was some discussion about family reunification during the week, and the subject was even touched during Anthony’s talk about his life experience. Below you will find numbers  on reunification in the US.


After doing some research on refugees and family reunification in the US – I found that there was indeed a program for those whose cases were approved. Only once the case is approved and the family is officially resettled in the US, will they be assigned to a sponsor that will help them with the reunification process. There are various resettlement agencies throughout the US that provide these sponsor – the UNHCR is not involved in this process. Below is a map of the various agencies in the US. You can find more information on these resettlement agencies and sponsor HERE.

The I-730 Process

As noted in the website, “I-730 is a refugee/asylee relative petition in what is often called a “follow-to-join” process. If you have been admitted to the U.S. as a refugee or if you were granted status in the U.S. as an asylee, you may be eligible to petition for your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21.” You have two years from the date of approval to petition through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) - this is for family member in the US or overseas as well.

Under U.S. law, only immediate family members are eligible to petition under the family reunification program.  An “immediate family member” is the child, spouse, or parent of the person requesting reunification. A “child” is considered as a person unmarried and under 21 years of age.