Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Reunite American Families
- Massive bureaucratic backlogs can keep family members apart for years or even decades. Arbitrary visa quotas and bureaucratic delays can separate families for years. It takes an average of almost 5 years for a legal permanent resident to get a visa for his or her spouse or young child, and 10 years to get a visa for a son or daughter who is over the age of 21. Comprehensive immigration reform would reduce these backlogs significantly so that future immigration is controlled, orderly, and legal.
- Those who want to send parents and their children “home” should recognize that they already are home. Most undocumented immigrants have been in the U.S. for more than five years, and most live in family units.
- According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 3 million U.S. citizens have at least one undocumented parent. Under the current system, these children of “mixed-status” families live under the threat that they will either be separated from their parents or forced to leave their home country: the United States. Comprehensive immigration reform would allow them to grow up in stable American families
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Help Us Live Up to American Values
- Extending welcome to those who come to this country for a better life is part of our American heritage. Through most of the United States’ history, there was no such thing as “illegal immigration.” The waves of Irish, German, Italian, Polish, and Jewish immigrants who came to the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries—the ancestors of most Americans of European descent—were allowed to enter the United States as long as they were healthy. The restrictions which made some immigration “illegal” were first put in place in the early 1900s.
- Most undocumented immigrants want to obtain legal status, support their families, pay taxes and learn English. The backlogs for visas, green cards and citizenship (for those eligible) and for English-language classes—not to mention the number of undocumented workers who pay taxes demonstrate that most undocumented immigrants would be willing to do what it takes to be eligible for legalization and citizenship, if only there were a way for them to get legal.
- Faith groups of all political backgrounds recognize that immigration reform is a moral imperative. Denominations and organizations that have joined the Interfaith Immigration Coalition or issued public statements in favor of reform include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; the National Association of Evangelicals; the American Jewish Committee; the Episcopal Church; the Islamic Information Center; the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; the United Methodist Church; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; the Union for Reform Judaism; the Presbyterian Church; United Sikhs; and the American Friends Service Committee.