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Waiting for reform, immigrant families face uncertain futures

As federal lawmakers continue to work towards a compromise on immigration reform, immigrants in Miami and throughout the rest of the country continue to wonder what the future holds for them and their families. While the federal government makes a certain number of family visas available each year, individual cases can remain backlogged for years. Many may feel that they simply can’t wait that long. It’s currently estimated that as many as 50,000 people attempt to enter the country on their own every month. While being undocumented carries the risk of deportation, many feel it’s worth it to keep their families together.

Yet many families are finding out the hard way that risk never goes away. The number of deportations has reached an all-time high in recent years, with nearly 1,000 people being deported daily. This increased caseload has left immigration judges and lawyers with literally only minutes to decide the fate of those facing deportation. Among these are people who’ve been in the U.S. for decades, and have children and even grandchildren who have been born as citizens. Yet even with such roots in place, incidents of “moral turpitude” (poor character) while in the U.S. can land one in deportation proceedings in the blink-of-an-eye.

Such proceedings can be long and drawn out, during which time one may be forced to wait in a detention center. In the absence of a clear path to citizenship or permanent residency for undocumented immigrants, this process remains a potential reality for many immigrant families.

These and other family immigration issues weigh heavily on the minds of many immigrants. Fortunately, they don’t have to endure this process alone. Those needing assistance with a deportation hearing or arranging a family visa may find it in the form of a qualified immigration attorney.

Source: The Washington Post “In a crowded immigration court, seven minutes to decide a family’s future” Eli Saslow, Feb. 02, 2014

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