Familias sin Fronteras, a program granting short-term visas to Jaliscienses estranged from family in the United States for over ten years, saw another phase of its operation enacted earlier this week.
The program’s first phase, operated - like all subsequent phases - in conjunction with the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, took place in August 2016, when 16 people, all from the municipality of Tamazula — about an hour south of Lake Chapala — received 30-day visas. In December of the same year, 34 more Mexican citizens were granted the ability to visit long-lost relatives stateside. And in June, 40 more visas were given to residents in the north of the state.
This week’s ceremony saw the governor hand out 80 visas to residents of the metropolitan area of Guadalajara.
“Believe me, this is one of my favorite programs,” Governor Aristoteles Sandoval said during the visa-granting ceremony, “It fills me with satisfaction seeing happy families. Happiness has no price.”
During last year’s ceremony, Sandoval stated that the Jalisciense diaspora in the United States numbered over 1.6 million. Last year’s recipients also received state assistance purchasing U.S.-bound flights to greater facilitate their union with sorely missed relatives. Recipients may renew their visas after 30 days if they abide by certain rules.
In the wake of the immigration crackdown in the United States, Sandoval promised to give his full support to migrant and expat Jaliscienses who might find themselves running afoul of U.S. policy.