Family Unity: The Core of Immigration to the U.S.

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Family Unity: The Core of Immigration to the U.S.
Family Unity: The Core of Immigration to the U.S.

I was listening to a public figure speak this week about immigration policy. According to this nationally known figure, “the fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists and powerful, powerful politicians.”

This sort of a statement betrays a widespread ignorance of the fundamental basis of American immigration. Currently, more than two-out-of-three immigrants coming to the U.S. are coming here to be united with a family member. Family Unity is at the core of American immigration. Most immigrants coming to the U.S. are immediate relatives of American citizens. Family reunification is embedded in our immigration statutes.

We cannot trash a wife applying for her husband’s Green Card as simply an exercise in pandering to wealthy donors or political activists. Being able to live with your spouse and to have your foreign-born children under the same roof as you is not a question of politics or economics. It is fundamental to what it means to be human.

We need to understand the realities of immigration policy and we must turn our backs on the scare tactics of politicians hoping to harvest votes from hatred and fear. The first thing to recognize is that most immigration is based on the desire of family members to be near one another. Anyone who claims to want to change our immigration system but who has not taken the time to learn that simple fact is building his house of immigration on the sands of ignorance. It will not stand.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is Director of Legal Services at CARECEN and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra University. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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