The family reunification program is the visa program through which immigrants who are legal residents or green card holders can petition to have their relatives join them in the United States. Visas are granted according to the family tree, resulting in family-based migration. Some politicians refer to this process as the chain migration program, claiming that extended immigrant families can grow to the point where there is no regard for who is entering. However, there are restrictions in place to prevent the overflow that critics fear. The family reunification program is crucial in providing those separated from their loved ones with an opportunity to reunite and live together.
Immigration law offers two lanes for obtaining family based green cards. Both native-born and naturalized citizens can sponsor their immediate relatives including spouses, minor children, and parents without any annual caps. Citizens can also sponsor preference relatives or siblings and adult children (along with their spouses and grandchildren) under yearly limits. Current green card holders can sponsor their spouses, minor children, and unmarried adult children, but again, are subject to annual caps.
Sponsorship refers to the process during which the U.S. citizen or current green card holder must file a petition with Immigration Services on their relative’s behalf to document that there is a qualifying family relationship present. To obtain the family based green card, the relative must either apply outside of the U.S. for an immigration visa (which grants a green card after entry), or, if they are already in the country and eligible, they can apply to “adjust status” to a green card. This requires the family member who is the beneficiary of the petition to prove they are “admissible” to the United States as an immigrant. “Admissibility” is demonstrated through various criminal and background checks, proof of ability to support themselves, no disqualifying medical conditions, and no previous violations of immigration law.
President Trump, since he took office, has voiced his stance on and acted upon cutting back on immigration. One of the reforms that he has championed most vigorously in recent months is switching from chain migration to a system of merit-based immigration. Under this proposed system, a team of elite economic experts would analyze the types of skilled laborers corporate America needs most of and then develop admissions criteria to select for such workers. This would replace the current process of ordinary Americans selecting immigrants based on familial ties.
What started from hateful words is becoming the harsh reality as seen through Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy and the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border. The future of family reunification immigration is now more at risk and uncertain than ever. If you are hoping to reunite your family, you need to act as soon as possible before the window of opportunity closes and the law changes. Attorney Eric Price is here to support you through what may seem like a daunting task but can be tackled successfully with the right resources and attention.
If you have a family member who you believe might qualify for family-based immigration, reach out to a licensed attorney to guide you. There are many people who run businesses based on filling out immigration applications, but they do not have knowledge of the law. It is crucial to hire someone who possesses expert legal knowledge, because the application process can be very confusing. You only get one chance to file for a family based green card, so it must be done correctly and thoroughly the first time. Get trusted referrals, ask for references, and remember to build a relationship with your attorney.
Schedule a free consultation today! Contact Attorney Eric Price to ensure that your family won’t be adversely impacted by changes to chain migration law.
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