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New immigration reform bill would eliminate visas for siblings

Going all the way back to the European discovery of the North American continent, a popular immigration pattern has been for one member of a family to set out for America, seek his or her fortune, and lay down some permanent roots. Then, once the time is right, the rest the family then joins him or her in their new homeland. Such a pattern continues in Miami and other areas across the U.S. Yet once the issue of immigration reform is resolved in Washington, this method of family immigration could be altered forever.

The original immigration reform that came out of the Senate earlier this year included language that would end some aspects of the family immigration program, specifically the category of visa applications made for siblings. Oddly enough, this is one area of immigration reform that both sides of the debate agree upon. The shared wish is to see the 65,000 visas made available to siblings of current citizens every year used instead to increase the number of employment-based visas. Whereas in the past, immigration policy has been geared towards family reunification, it appears that lawmakers would now like to see them aimed at supporting the U.S. economy.

According to data from November 2012, there are 2.5 million people awaiting approval for green cards through the sibling category. Should the current reform bill pass, those already awaiting visas will be grandfathered in. Future family-based visa requests may only be made for a parent, child, or spouse. While legislation is still pending, those hoping to request visas for their siblings are encouraged to do so before the option is eliminated. An immigration lawyer may provide guidance and assistance in this process. 

Source: USA Today “Congress considers tighter restrictions on family visas” Daniel Gonzalez, Nov. 08, 2013 

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