the basic issue
The United States is a country built on immigration, but its laws
are pulling immigrant families apart. In particular, families of Lawful
Permanent Residents (LPRs — also known as green card holders).
The problem stems from an annual cap on immigrant visas available to
spouses and minor children of LPRs (also known as F2A visas). This has resulted in a huge backlog,
putting family members who apply for immigrant visas on
a waiting list. The current waiting time, coupled with processing
delays, is about 5 years.
During this 5 year waiting period, the spouse and minor children of an LPR
are ineligible for student or visitor visas. They must wait outside
the U.S. until they are granted permanent resident status. The LPR
cannot live with his/her family outside the U.S., as doing so would risk
the loss of Permanent Residency. In general, the LPR cannot leave
the U.S. for more than 6 months at a time.
Essentially, families are forced to stay apart for unreasonably long periods
while they wait for immigration processing.
what about other categories?
In contrast, every other category — students, workers, citizens
— can sponsor their families to live in the U.S. with them without
Applicants for other categories of immigrant visas, for example, siblings
of U.S. citizens, face similar backlogs and restrictions. None,
however, violate what we believe to be a basic tenet — the family
is an integral unit that must be kept together.
Ripping husbands, wives and children apart from each other
should not be the effect of an Immigration System.
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