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To: President Biden, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Transportation, and Director of CDC

Tell President Biden to Allow Unmarried Bi-national Couples and Fiancé(e)s to Safely Reunite

The impact of separating bi-national couples for over 10 months during the pandemic has been devastating for families. Parents have missed the birth of their children while isolated abroad. Partners have passed away while being denied reunification. As time passes, aging and ill partners' abilities to have children, get married, and build a life with their partners diminish.

Sign this petition to urgently request the Biden administration to support the policy proposals of the Giumarelli-Metivier letter, which requests safe humanitarian travel exemptions for unmarried bi-national couples and K-1 visa applicants to address the irreparable harms, familial life disruptions, financial burdens, and psychological stresses they have endured.

The letter can be read in full at https://krishni.medium.com/the-giumarelli-metivier-letter-2b76cec18129. An accompanying Annex is available at: https://krishni.medium.com/annex-to-giumarelli-metivier-letter-a55e3eb62dbd.

*As always, we welcome any safety protocols that the administration may require for entry into the U.S., including COVID-19 testing upon departure and arrival, mandatory quarantining (subject to check-ins and fines), social distancing, mask mandates in public, submitting quarantine locater documents, and vaccinations (once widely available).*

Why is this important?

A policy of separation from loved ones is unsustainable and causes irreparable harms.

The impact of indefinitely separating bi-national couples during the pandemic has been devastating. The Love Is Not Tourism Community Survey Report (December 2020), conducted by a monitoring and evaluation specialist and a public health specialist, sought to assess the impact of international travel bans on unmarried bi-national couples. [1] Survey respondents reported spending, on average, 9.25 months (37 weeks) separated from their partners. [2] Half of all survey respondents had not met with their partners since the pandemic began. [3]

The lost time has resulted in distinct irreparable losses. [4] Partners unable to be present during pregnancies and missing the birth of their children while kept abroad. [5] Partners suffering terminal illnesses and passing away without their partners. [6] Aging and ill partners losing their ability to implement critical life plans together, including marriage, moving in together, and having children. [7] Partners have also suffered a huge financial burden: an estimated $148 million USD were spent in 2020 in our efforts to reunite with loved ones. [8]

We can fix this.

Because of the grassroots advocacy efforts of separated bi-national couples, European leaders, the EU commission, and several Schengen Area countries have publicly acknowledged this crisis and implemented travel exemptions with safety protocols to reunite bi-national couples in ways that respect and address the ongoing COVID-19 health concerns. The current U.S. administration must do the same.

Our government must recognize that our partners and relationships, whether certified by marriage license or not, are essential, committed, and, therefore, worthy of travel exemptions too.

We (Ariel and Krishni) have diligently worked together to compose a formal letter addressing the current administration with our arguments and proposals.

Sign this petition as one step to help bi-national couples safely reunite, marry, have children, and continue building their lives and families. Tell the President that we need safe travel exemptions to address the severe disruptions and burdens endured by unmarried bi-national couples. Ask the current administration to publicly support the policy recommendations of the Giumarelli-Metivier letter and implement the requested changes during their end-of-the-month reviews.

We will continue to update you on the progress of our letter and other actions you can take so please stay tuned.

* This petition is not and shall not be construed as constituting legal advice or the provision of legal services or legal representation by its authors, Ariel Vita Giumarelli and Krishni Metivier (the “Authors”). This petition represents the personal views of its Authors and does not reflect the views or endorsement of any of the Authors’ affiliated employers, corporations, law firms or universities.

[1] See, Love Is Not Tourism: The Case for Binational Partner & Family Reunification in a Pandemic, Love Is Not Tourism Community Survey Report (Dec. 2020), available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1aajW9BWjY_4muQb5r59DZcJBTJAPVHNG?usp=sharing.
[2] See Id. at 12 and 29.
[3] See Id.
[4] See Id. at 19-23.
[5] See Id. at 22.
[6] See Id.
[7] See Id.
[8] See Id. at 17.


Reasons for signing

  • I want to marry my fiancé and start a life together!!!! k1 visas processes stopped by USA EMBASSIES!!! More than a year on a procees used to take 6months, so unfair!!!!
  • I was supposed to be married to my fiance last June but the borders were closed between USA and Greece, now i am waiting on the k1 visa to be allowed to marry him. I need the borders to allow couples to reunite and USA to make the embassies process k1 again...
  • I singed because my girlfriend is in Austria and i haven’t been able to see her in A year and a half because of the virus. How can i go there but she can’t come here just doesn’t make sense.

Updates

2021-02-24 22:03:25 -0500

Good news! Krishni took some time to answer questions for an interview with a White House correspondent this week. As a result, our petition and letter have been featured in the Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News and Observer, Kansas City Star, and several other news outlets around the U.S. We hope that this will help us build broader public support. (https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article249435350.html)

Need more convincing or resources? Watch and share the recent documentary on Love Is Not Tourism: https://youtu.be/fwb-WqwoD94

We will continue to get our story to the public until a reasonable solution to our family separation becomes possible.

2021-02-20 21:38:00 -0500

5,000 signatures reached

2021-02-19 06:35:49 -0500

The next few days are crucial. The Biden administration has set an end of month deadline for reviewing and proposing changes to the U.S. travel bans.

Therefore, we are asking you to help us take the next critical step of contacting your elected Congressional representatives. To help you do this, we have created a sample advocacy letter with contact information that you may use: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vYoLXASQdZekO9OAjqOKnNEykPogmdMo/view?usp=sharing

Printable PDF copies of the Giumarelli-Metivier letter and annex are available here for those who decide to print and mail their letters: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/109OlbD2PoRAwt24--8aosQJfshePdJYO?usp=sharing

Can we count on you to send a letter, email or make a phone call to a U.S. lawmaker in the next few days to help us reunite?

2021-02-09 11:13:27 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2021-02-09 05:12:33 -0500

500 signatures reached

2021-02-08 22:05:35 -0500

100 signatures reached

2021-02-08 21:20:36 -0500

50 signatures reached

2021-02-08 20:41:30 -0500

25 signatures reached

2021-02-08 20:03:32 -0500

10 signatures reached