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The Potential Expansion of Immigration Eligibility for Immediate Family Members

by: Justin Burton

One of the most heartbreaking areas of immigration law is the issue of reuniting broken families.  There are fewer things more saddening than knowing that a person cannot be with those whom they love and care the most about.  If you are struggling with this issue and want to try to reunite your family across the borders, contact a local immigration attorney who can help you bring your family together again.

The narrative surrounding immigration in the U.S. has been incendiary and mixed as of lately, especially given the election year hustle.  In light of that, several members of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress have introduced a bill to expand immigration eligibility for those who are immediate family members of current U.S. citizens.  This same bill also specifically addresses same-sex married couples whose spouses should be able to join them in the U.S, this bill is called the Reuniting Families Act (RFA).  In the U.S., currently an “immediate family member” can be any of the following:

  • A spouse;
  • Any unmarried child under 21 years old; or
  • A parent.

Overall, this bill promises to make it easier for U.S. citizens and green card holders to have their families here with them, legally, in the United States.  Aside from that, there are other significant positive effects that the bill could have.

The RFA would increase visa allocations for siblings also and would give same sex couples unable to be married in their home countries the same treatment as opposite sex couples.  This could mean groundbreaking change for up to 36,000 same sex, bi-national couples.

Representative Mike Honda (Democrat-California) sponsored the bill and indicated that the bill will cut backlogs that keep 4.4 million family members from their loved ones who are either U.S. citizens or green card holders.  This backlog could take our current system multiple decades to slog through.  Honda has also indicate that the RFA will utilize the thousands of unused visas that have been inactive over past decades.

An Uphill Battle

If you have watched the news lately or listened to any part of the current immigration debate, you will know that a bill like this has a big uphill battle on the road to potential lawmaking.  There are still many lawmakers who advocate for more restrictions on immigration in the U.S.   There is no way to tell exactly how this bill will fare in the current immigration climate on Capitol Hill.  What we do know, however, is that reform is coming in one way or another.  

Even though the future promises change, for the good or for the bad you will always have an advocate in Kriezelman Burton & Associates.  We know that family means the most to so many of us and we offer our assistance consistently for the purposes of keeping your family together, or uniting it after so long.  The immigration climate in the United States is changing, and while we wait for our lawmakers to do their jobs and make necessary changes, our local immigrant attorneys are here to do their best to help you and your family.  

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