Washington, D.C.-The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice commends Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) for reintroducing the Reuniting Families Act today.
The bill contains practical solutions for reducing family immigrant visa wait times and promoting the humane and timely reunification of immigrant families.
“We applaud Rep. Honda for his steadfast leadership on this key piece of legislation, which offers sensible solutions to help immigrants reunite with their closest loved ones,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. “Families are the bedrock of our society, and a system that keeps hard-working, tax-paying, legally present immigrants apart from family members is bad for America.”
The Reuniting Families Act would alleviate and provide humane solutions to pressures on the family immigration system through the tremendous family visa backlogâ€”numbered at more than 4.5 millionâ€”through provisions that include:
â€¢Â Â Â Reducing the backlog by placing unused visas from previous years back into the pool of available visas;
â€¢Â Â Â Easing the delay for spouses and minor children, as well as for countries with the longest waiting lists; and
â€¢Â Â Â Recognizing sacrifices made in service to America by expediting the reunion of Filipino American World War II veterans and their children.
This legislation is especially appropriate now as we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community is disproportionately affected by the failures of the current system. There are family members from China, India and the Philippines, for example, who have been waiting between 10 and 23 years.
Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, said, “Every year, thousands of family visas go unused because of bureaucratic delays. These delays and our broken system create backlogs and wait times that may exceed 20 years for some countries. It is wrong to keep loved ones apart for years or even decades.”
Family-based immigrants make vital contributions to the U.S. economy as productive workers and entrepreneurs every day. “We know that immigrants who have the support of their families integrate into our society more easily and go on to become hard working taxpayers,” said Titi Liu, executive director of the Asian Law Caucus. “We need sensible reform that recognizes the enormous contributions of our immigrant families.”
“Our family-based immigration system is outdated and deeply flawed. We urge Congress to support the Reuniting Families Act and to pursue fair and humane policies that enable families to stay together, rather than force them apart for years at a time,” said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute.