AILA Commends Reintroduction of Family Reunification Bill

CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) for reintroducing the Reuniting Families Act ("RFA"). The bill would recognize the longstanding and cherished American value of family unity.

AILA President Victor Nieblas Pradis noted, "Family unification has always been a key principle of the U.S. legal immigration system, but unfortunately, our current system is desperately outdated and is keeping families apart for years, even decades." He continued, "The RFA will go a long way toward fixing the family-based immigration system by providing an adequate number of green cards to allow family reunification. But this won't just help families, it will help the economy because often immigrants who come through the family-based system have employable skills or are business-minded themselves. Furthermore, close family relationships facilitate entrepreneurship because family members can provide care and support for children and the elderly allowing the innovators to build a new business."

"AILA members see family-based cases every day that are stuck waiting in the backlog. If a U.S. citizen is reuniting with an unmarried adult son or daughter, the typical wait is almost six years but if that adult child is coming from Mexico, the wait jumps to over 20 years. If a U.S. citizen is reuniting with a married adult child who is coming from the Philippines, the wait is almost 23 years. It is no surprise that the immigration system is not working since the current green card limits were set in 1990, a generation ago," said Mr. Nieblas Pradis.

Provisions in the RFA would:

  • Re-classify the children and spouses of lawful permanent residents as "immediate relatives" allowing them to qualify for a green card with no waiting time.
  • Recapture unused family-based and employment-based green cards that were authorized but not allocated due to bureaucratic delay.
  • Increase the per country limits on family green cards from 7% to 15% to help ease backlogs.
  • Eliminate discrimination faced by same-sex relationships in our immigration laws.

Mr. Nieblas Pradis concluded, "At a time when many in Congress are not willing to increase the overall number of green cards available in the immigration system, supporters of measures such as the RFA show that there are those in Congress who truly understand the benefits immigrants bring to this country."

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 16031760.