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Rep. Chu Reintroduces Reuniting Families Act to Protect Family Reunification Among Immigrants

July 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the Reuniting Families Act. The Reuniting Families Act will improve the family reunification process by reducing visa backlogs to provide humane and timely reunifications, providing equality for LGBTQ families, increasing the number of diversity visas, and improving our overall immigration system. Rep. Chu issued the following statement:

“We know that Trump wants to go back to a system that prioritizes white immigrants over everyone else. But instead of basing our immigration system on the color of your skin, we believe it should be based on what is best for our country and our economy. Thanks to family immigration, many new immigrants can rely on their parents to help raise their kids while they hold down a job, or can find financing for their business through their family when a bank says no. That’s true merit to me. And it’s why immigrants rely on less government assistance, start businesses in higher numbers, and own more homes than native born individuals.

“Unfortunately, our immigration system has not been reformed for decades and does not address the current reality of families trying to come to the United States who are caught in our visa backlog. For instance, the average wait time for a U.S. citizen to sponsor a sibling from the Philippines is almost 25 years! In total, more than 4 million people are still waiting for a family immigration visa. The reality is that our family immigration system is not the floodgate that Trump paints it as. It can take decades to reunite just ONE family member. In fact, our system is severely backlogged – which is what this bill is meant to address.”

The text of the Reuniting Families Act can be found here. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Recapture unused employment-based and family-sponsored visas from fiscal years 1992-2015. For future years, unused visa numbers will automatically “roll over” to the next fiscal year. 
  • Reclassify spouses, permanent partners, and children under the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents who are waiting in line to reunite with their families as “immediate relatives,” a category not subject to annual numerical limits.
  • Eliminate discrimination facing LGBTQ families throughout immigration laws, including making sure that all children born to U.S. citizen parents have aquired citizenship regardless of a biological relationship..
  • Honor the contribution of Filipino World War II veterans by reducing their children’s waiting times for family-based visas
  • Increase the number of diversity visas from 50,000 to 80,000 green cards annually.
  • Increases the government’s discretion to keep families together and waive grounds of inadmissibility or deportability for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or the public interest. This could be used to prevent deportations and sponsor previously deported family members to come back.