January 26, 2018
On January 25, 2018, President Trump announced a proposal for immigration reform that would vastly change who is eligible to legally obtain visas to the United States. News coverage has focused on the potential path to citizenship for approximately 1.8 million individuals, which would certainly be wonderful if achieved. However, it has overshadowed the proposed elimination of several categories of family-based petitions.
The current immigration laws display our profound respect for families by allowing visa petitions that extend to parents; children over the age of twenty-one; children who are married; and brothers and sisters. The proposed change would eliminate all of these categories. Instead, family-based visa petitions would be limited to only spouses and unmarried children under age twenty-one.
The potential elimination of these various categories would truly be devastating as families would have even more limited opportunities to be united. It would eliminate the ability for a US citizen to have an elderly parent come to the US, which is especially valuable as parents get older and and may need assistance or health care. Despite growing up together and being immediate family, siblings could no longer be united with one another. It devalues familial relationships with children just because they are over twenty-one or married, which is clearly ironic given America’s alleged love for family and family values.
Because of these proposed changes, all individuals who have any desire to be united with a family member who is a parent, sibling, or child over twenty-one or married, must act immediately! The proposed changes specifically state that any petitions that have already been filed would be processed to completion. Also, the system in which visas are issued would be altered so that the current waiting periods may actually be significantly reduced.
Many individuals chose not to file family-based visa petitions believing that they are a waste of time and/or money because of the very lengthy waiting lists. In my twenty-one years as an immigration attorney, I have sadly witnessed too many families regret not filing a lengthy family-based petition when they still have no solution years and years later.
Because a long waiting list is much better than never, individuals who would be affected by such a change must act immediately to file the necessary relative petition. Now is the time to act and, given the importance, it is essential to have competent legal counsel who can ensure that it is done properly.
For further information, please schedule an appointment with an attorney at Aquino & Loew, Immigration Law Specialists. Please also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Aquino & Loew also handles family law and criminal matters. Providing Personalized Service Nationwide & Abroad Since 1996.