Representatives Seek to Reform Family-Based Immigration  ... back >
Feb. 6, 2018 - While much attention in the immigration debate has focused on illegal immigration, secure borders, and the plight of the DREAMers, the legal immigration system has also recently come into the spotlight as the Trump administration has backed proposals to shift from a family-based system to a skills-based system. 

Led by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), a group of Democratic members of Congress announced legislation that would upgrade America's family-based immigration system.  The Reuniting Families Act would address a backlog of over 4.4 million people who have applied to immigrate legally to the United States in order to reunite with their families.  Many have been waiting for years. 

Speakers at this press conference emphasized that the picture of "chain migration" painted by President Trump and some conservatives is misleading, and that family reunification has significant benefits.  U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who came to the U.S. at age 16 and  became a citizen after 17 years, termed the Trump administration's recently introduced immigration framework (+) "a complete nonstarter." 

The Trump framework would provide a path to citizenship for DACA reciipients, but it also would make significant changes to the legal, family-based immigration system such as eliminating sponsorship categories and ending the Visa Lottery.  Talking points (+) from proponents of the Reuniting Families Act, describe Trump's proposal as "an assault on immigrant communities of color," noting, for example, that "82 percent of Asian Americans came to the Unites States through family-based immigration" and that "In 2015, nearly 98 percent of visas issued for Latino immigrants were family-based."  According to the CATO Institute, the administration's proposal would cut legal immigration by 22 million people over five decades.
U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).
U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY).
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA).
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).
Representatives of several groups also spoke.
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