News & Resources

IRAP Announces Bay Area Family Reunification Initiative (BAFRI)

IRAP is excited to launch a new collaborative family reunification initiative with a focus on families from across the Americas destined for the Bay Area of California! 

While there are numerous reasons for the unprecedented migration from – and through – Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years, a principal one is family reunification. Often, children and adults trying to find safety in the United States already have a parent or other relative in the country. Many of these people could lawfully join their families in the United States through family reunification pathways if more information about these programs were available and the U.S. government employed them more effectively. For example, an estimated 250,000 people from just seven countries in the Western Hemisphere are eligible for the Biden administration’s new family reunification parole program – yet it is not operating at scale.

The prospect of family reunification through lawful pathways for families from Latin America and the Caribbean has never been greater – but without increased awareness of these pathways, meaningful access to legal services, and advocacy to improve the operation of these pathways on a systemic level, their potential will not be achieved. Our new initiative aims to expand access to family reunification and other lawful pathways in the Western Hemisphere through direct legal services, legal information, and systemic advocacy. 

Through partnerships with organizations based in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, this initiative will disseminate legal information on various lawful pathways in a range of accessible formats in at least ten countries; provide free legal services to family members seeking reunification; offer Train the Trainer capacity strengthening to over 20 organizations in four countries; produce legal publications and public trainings for advocates; and engage with policymakers on relevant issues.

U.S.-based initiative partners include East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Centro Legal de la Raza, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and FWD.us. IRAP will announce Latin America and Caribbean partnerships this summer. 

In the coming months, IRAP will launch a webpage for BAFRI, with further details on applicant-facing and advocate resources, trainings and webinars, practice advisories, and policymaker recommendations. 

For more information, please contact Kate Jellema at development@refugeerights.org.