With false and misinformed claims regarding family immigration in the news on a seemingly constant basis in recent weeks and months, it is imperative that accurate information find its way to the forefront of the discussion. With malicious claims of “chain migration” being commonplace, it matters that everyone who needs true information about family migration be able to access it.
MYTH: If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, you can sponsor any member of your family to immigrate.
TRUTH: This is false. Family-based immigration is restricted in that a naturalized citizen may only sponsor his or her spouse, children, and if he or she is over age 21, his or her siblings and parents. However, the mere ability to sponsor someone does not mean that your family member’s path to legal status in the U.S. will be somehow faster than anyone else’s; it conveys no real advantage, given that every documented immigrant must go through the same process. Also, a sponsor does not mean that a person’s application will be vetted any less stringently than someone’s application for asylum or an employment-based application for status, despite more misleading and inaccurate claims being perpetuated by media and government officials.
MYTH: Permanent residents (green card holders) can petition for any member of their family to move to the United States.
TRUTH: This is false. Green card holders may sponsor even fewer people than naturalized U.S. citizens; only spouses and unmarried children (adult or minor) may classify for status as a result of a person’s green card. For example, if Husband achieves legal permanent resident status in the U.S., he may file for Wife and Minor Child to join him, but not Adult Married Daughter; she would have to file her own petition.
MYTH: Family based immigrants increase the U.S. poverty level due to their lack of viable skills and resources compared to employment-based immigrants.
TRUTH: This is false, on a number of levels. It is true that there is a gap in earnings between family-based immigrants and citizens when an immigrant first arrives in the United States. However, over approximately a decade, the gap disappears. Generally, immigrants and their families have a higher wage growth than natives after a decade, as well as paying more taxes over their lifetime on average. Families also tend to pool their resources more than native-born U.S. citizens, which can lead to economic growth.
MYTH: Immigration is “out of control” because of “chain migration.”
TRUTH: This is false, as well as more than a bit xenophobic. While the U.S. immigration system has pronounced flaws and is generally in need of reform, as agreed by both parties, “out of control” is a wholly subjective measurement that has little meaning outside alarmist circles. Each year, the total number of immigrants who may receive a family-based visa is 226,000, with those categories severely regulated and oversubscribed.
Seek Knowledgeable Immigration Help
If you are interested in adjusting your status or sponsoring a member of your family for status in the U.S., consulting a knowledgeable immigration attorney is a good first step. Regardless of what the media might say, the skilled Chicago immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will do our best to give you accurate information about the subject of family-based immigration. Call our office today for a free consultation.
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