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New Legal Immigration Program for Ecuadorians

The Biden administration is launching a new family reunification program for certain immigrants from Ecuador. This program is aimed at discouraging people from trekking to the U.S.-Mexico border, and instead providing them with a legal pathway to the U.S.The government’s goal is to discourage crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border because illegal border crossings reached an all-time high in September 2023.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Establishing this process for certain Ecuadorian nationals will ensure more families can access lawful pathways rather than placing themselves at the mercy of smugglers to make the dangerous journey.” 

Who Qualifies For The Ecuadorian Family Reunification Program

To qualify for the program,

  • Ecuadorians must have family members in the U.S. who are American citizens or permanent residents.
  • If selected and approved, Ecuadorians would be permitted to enter the U.S. under the humanitarian parole authority, without having to wait for a visa.
  • While in the U.S., they can work legally under the parole authority and wait for their visa to become available. Once that happens, they can become permanent residents.

This program is similar to family reunification programs that the Biden administration has already created for immigrants from Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras. These programs have been successful in reducing illegal border crossings from those countries. The Biden administration hopes that this new family reunification program will have the same effect for Ecuador and that it will provide a safe and legal pathway for Ecuadorians to join their families in the United States.

Why Is Ecuadorian Immigration to the U.S. Increasing?

Ecuadorian migration to the US border has soared in recent years, with nearly 99,000 Ecuadorians apprehended by Border Patrol in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2023, a 312% increase from fiscal year 2022.

The increase in migration is due to a number of factors, including

  • a struggling economy
  • an unprecedented wave of violent crime in Ecuador
  • the country has been plagued by drug cartels and gangs
  • in August, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot to death while campaigning.

The State Department advises Americans not to visit certain areas of the country due to risk of being assaulted, kidnapped or even murdered. Many Ecuadorians are fleeing to the US in search of safety and economic opportunity. However, the journey is dangerous and many migrants have lost their lives crossing the Darién Gap, a treacherous jungle on the border between Colombia and Panama.

What Is The Family Reunification Parole Process?

The Family Reunification Parole process starts when the U.S. State Department sends an invitation to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member who has successfully filed Form I-130 to sponsor an Ecuadorian beneficiary. This program is available to certain children and siblings of U.S. citizens, and certain spouses and children of lawful permanent residents. The invited petitioner can then start the process by filing a request for the beneficiary and eligible family members to be considered for advance travel authorization and parole.

Talk To A Family Reunification Immigration Attorney

Although family reunification is one of the goals of this country’s immigration policies, acquiring a family-based immigration permit can be time-consuming and require substantial effort. Fortunately, working with an experienced immigration attorney could ensure you avoid errors that can cause delays. A family immigration lawyer understands how to use their knowledge and skills to help secure family visas as quickly as the circumstances permit.

Call us today at 630-345-4164.

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