AILA Applauds Re-Introduction of the Reuniting Families Act

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649 - 202-507-7611

AILA Applauds Re-introduction of the Reuniting Families Act
Bill would provide critical reforms to ensure family unity

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds the re-introduction of the Reuniting Families Act ("RFA") by Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA). This important measure is aimed at promoting family unity in the immigration system.

"The principle of family unification is a fundamental characteristic of our immigration system," said AILA President Laura Lichter. She continued, "AILA urges the President and Congress to enact an immigration reform bill that addresses the multitude of our nation's immigration needs. Congressman Honda's bill, the Reuniting Families Act, provides crucial improvements to our family-based immigration system and should be made a part of the overall reform effort."

"The Reuniting Families Act comes at the right time as a counter weight to the proposals some lawmakers have made to cut family visa categories. These cuts rest on the faulty assumption that America can only absorb a fixed number of immigrants at a given time. In fact our nation's needs are constantly changing-sometimes expanding and other times contracting. Our immigration system must be capable of meeting the needs of American businesses, families, and the economy," said Ms. Lichter.

"Exceptionally long waits for visas keep families apart for years or even decades. Immigration reform should improve the legal immigration system by enacting policies that eliminate the backlogs." said Ms. Lichter. A U.S. citizen typically has to wait about seven years to bring an adult child; and almost 20 years for those coming from Mexico.

"More than 20 years have passed since Congress made any substantive reforms to our family-based immigration system. To keep families together and to ensure our nation is strong, additional green cards should be added to family categories. The solutions in the RFA show us the way," concluded Ms. Lichter.

Specifically, the RFA does the following:

  • The bill re-classifies the children and spouses of lawful permanent residents as "immediate relatives" allowing them to immediately qualify for a visa.

  • Recaptures unused family-based and employment-based visas that were authorized but not allocated due to bureaucratic delay.

  • Increases the per country limits of family visas from 7% to 15% to help ease family green card backlogs.

  • Ends discrimination in immigration law, allowing same-sex partners to reunite.

  • Allows orphans, widows and widowers to immigrate despite death of a petitioner.


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. 13021521.