For many people being with their family and loved ones is an important part of life. There are many factors that could keep loved ones apart. Sometimes those factors involved immigration matters. Recently a bill, that could impact who is considered an immediate family member for purposes of family immigration, was reintroduced. The bill was previously introduced in 2013.
Readers may be aware that under the U.S. immigration laws currently in place, individuals who are considered immediate family members include the following of U.S. citizens:
- Unmarried children younger than 21 years old
- Parents who are older than 20 years old
The bill, which is supported by organizations including the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Immigration Quality, Asians Advancing Justice and the Nation Council of Asian Pacifica Americans, seeks to do several things.
First, it seeks to classify minor children as immediate relatives. This is also the case where spouses of green card folders are concerned. In addition, it provides protections to same-sex couples ensuring that they are treated the same as opposite-sex couples. It also increases the allocations for visas available to siblings. The outcome of these changes would be that those who qualify as immediate family would be placed into a queue in which they would get a visa.
Called the Reunited Families Act, if passed, potentially many people could benefit, including Asian-American citizens and same-sex couples.
While it is unclear what exactly will happen with the bill, it is expected the bill will face stiff opposition from lawmakers. Readers are likely aware of the efforts off some of those individuals to increase the restrictions on U.S. immigration in place. We will provide updates as they become available.