If immigration reform happens, it will likely mean some serious changes to the current immigration laws. Advocates fear that green cards for many Asian immigrants could be one of the first things to go in exchange for more green cards for skilled workers or a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are currently in the country.
The Senate, in its immigration reform bill that was approved in June, already agreed to cut family green cards for siblings and married adult children and the House is currently considering a bill with similar effects. Advocates say these cuts would be devastating to Asian immigrants who often depend on family visas to enter the country.
As we sit and wait to see if immigration reform will indeed happen, advocates for Asian immigrants are recommending that those wishing to sponsor children, siblings or spouses to come to the U.S. from Asia should apply right away before the laws change. They are also leading campaigns in effort to convince lawmakers to keep family visa laws in tact. Luckily, some lawmakers are hearing their pleas.
"This is the most far-reaching, invasive and detrimental proposal for immigration reform on the Asian American community in at least the last four to six decades," said former California assemblyman Mike Eng. He said local Asian communities could suffer greatly if the family visas are reduced.
Neither the Senate nor the House has proposed doing away with green cards for spouses and unmarried children, but the wait times can still be extremely long for individuals from Asian countries because of the high demand and quota system. In fact, close to half of the individuals who apply for family visas are from Asian countries.
Note: Married same-sex couples can also now apply for spouse visas since the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed this summer.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Asians urged to apply for family visas, in case they're done away with,” Cindy Chang, July 30, 2013