Families look for relief from immigration bill
"Family unity has been the cornerstone of our immigration system for decades and should remain so,'' said Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"We're concerned that the family-based system is vulnerable and that visas could be taken away or categories could be eliminated, and we would strongly oppose that.''Under current law, U.S. citizens can petition to bring their spouses, parents and minor unmarried children into the country without any limit on the number coming in. There are caps on all other categories, including petitions for citizens' adult or married children, citizens' brothers and sisters and their children and the immediate family members of legal permanent residents.
The law also caps the percentage of immigrants that can come from any one country in a year. These limitations have led to a backlog of more than 4 million family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who must wait in their home countries for years before coming to the U.S. Filipinos in the sibling category can face waits of more than 20 years before they can join family here, advocates said.Maricris Arce, 43, a native of the Philippines who now lives in Anaheim, California, said she was separated from her husband for five years after coming legally to the U.S., and he wasn't present for the birth of their first child.
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