U.S. Immigration Policy Hurts Families
In theory, the current immigration system is designed to make it easier for families to reunite, but in practice it is extremely complicated and ineffective. How quickly a family member can legally immigrate depends on several factors, including:
1. The legal status of their family sponsor (citizen vs. legal permanent resident)
2. Their specific relationship to that sponsor (parent, child, sibling)
3. The country of origin
4. Their age and marital status
The combination of these factors leads to extreme disparity, especially for those who come from countries with a high rate of immigration to the U.S. Here are the wait times for immigrants who were granted visas in January of 2012:
- adult Filipino brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens: 23 years
- married children of U.S. citizens from Mexico: 20 years
- unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from mainland China and India: 8 years
Instead of reuniting families, this system clearly keeps them apart.
Families who enter the U.S. without authorization are in constant danger of being separated by deportation. Here are a few important numbers:
- 400,000 – the number of people the Obama administration deported in 2011, many of whom were seperated from family members in the U.S.
- 46,000 – the number of U.S. children (legal citizens) whose parents were deported during the first half of last year, according to a study by The Applied Research Center.
- 5,100 – the number of children now in foster care because their parents were deported.