Even though some forms of family-based immigration have existed in the United States since colonial times, the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 has provided an organized and comprehensive path to residency and naturalization for relatives of foreigners who have established legal ties to the country. Up to 480,000 visas are granted each year through family-based immigration, and the benefits this legislation has provided to American society are undeniable. Here are five positive aspects of family-based immigration that are helpful to remember at a time when the Trump administration has complained about “chain migration” programs.
1. The Positive Impact Can Be Measured
With family-based immigration programs, U.S. government officials are able to control the flow of foreigners who intend to become residents, and they get to learn a lot about applicants and their families. Being able to monitor and control this flow gives policymakers, planners, and researchers opportunities to measure the impact of immigration on American communities.
2. Thriving Ethnic Communities Are Formed by Families
Across many American metropolitan areas, neighborhoods with names such as Little Italy and Chinatown started out as immigrant enclaves that later became important economic and cultural centers. The key to forming these communities is to give opportunities to foreign relatives to join their families in the United States. Ethnic communities tend to be better organized at resisting gentrification and inspiring a sense of belonging.
3. Families Are the Best Sources of Financial Support
Legal residents and citizens who sponsor their relatives are expected to file I-134 forms proving they can provide financial support for their foreign relatives. In the absence of this financial support, visas are not granted. The underlying economic benefit of this requirement is that it causes families to pool their monetary resources, which must surpass the federal poverty levels in the regions where they reside, thereby reducing the potential of financial hardship. Families may also want to consider completing Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and/or Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
Forms such as the I-134 may be difficult for some people to understand and complete correctly, so it’s a good idea to consult an experienced immigration attorney. San Diego families can rely on the lawyers at KS Visa Law to provide them with the most current information on family-based immigration.
4. It Sustains the Future Workforce
Let’s say an Austrian man becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen after marrying an American woman. When children are born into this family, the husband could sponsor his mother to immigrate so she can care for her grandchildren, thereby allowing her son and daughter-in-law to pursue their careers. While some immigration critics will say the Austrian grandmother is preventing a local babysitter from getting work, economists have a different view of the care economy because they estimate its long-term macroeconomic contribution could be as high as 50 percent of the gross domestic product.
5. Attracting Immigrant Families Is a Smart Policy
Family-based immigration simply works. Albert Einstein felt more comfortable in the U.S. after he was able to bring his beloved sister Maja from Germany. First Lady Melania Trump’s parents became naturalized citizens earlier this year, and political analysts have remarked that she looks very relaxed when around them. Chain migration is a myth. Foreigners who wish to sponsor their relatives to join them on their American journey do so with the intention of forging a better and safer future together, and this is what family-based immigration provides.
In this time of political turmoil surrounding immigration policies, it’s easy to forget those policies that benefit both immigrants and the country as a whole. Family-based immigration is one of the most successful methods for people to immigrate to the U.S. If you have questions about any aspect of immigration, contact trusted attorneys who have vast experience with immigration services. In San Diego, CA, KS Visa Law is the firm to turn to when you need advice about immigration law and how it affects you and your family. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.