Family reunification

Pitting work visas against family reunification visas is wrong

The purpose of a comprehensive immigration reform is to modernize and balance an antiquated, worn-out system so that it takes into account human and economic needs. The way to achieve this is not by pitting the priority of family reunification against that of recruiting workers.

During a recent Senate hearing, an idea came up among some GOP lawmakers to eliminate the categories that would allow people to bring to the U.S. their siblings and children over 21 years old. They wanted to be able to bring in more working people, whether—for example—professionals in technology areas or workers for less specialized jobs.

We think it is a mistake to put these two types of immigration, which fulfill different purposes, into the same bag.

Work-based visas have the objective of looking for workers for sectors that cannot find employees in the United States—staff to meet the needs of a specific industry.

On the other hand, family reunification meets emotional needs, but its impact reaches far beyond that. These immigrants are the ones who work in family-owned businesses, contributing to the economy. They also play an important role as the caretakers of aging parents and the ones who raise children and grandchildren. This has a positive economic impact, not to mention strengthening the family values that are so prized by both Republicans and conservatives.

It is wrong to put a work visa face to face against a family reunification visa—like the ones they are considering eliminating—because both types eventually make a contribution. A relative does not come to this country to be a burden or a decorative element; he or she comes here mainly to work and contribute.