Family Unity in Comprehensive Immigration Reform: CALL IN TODAY!
The concept of “comprehensive immigration reform” (CIR) is, almost by definition, pretty overwhelming and confusing. Between a path to citizenship that is or is not dependent on border enforcement triggers and family unity backlogs and whether or not solutions will be LGBT-inclusive, there is a lot of jargon surrounding the many components to CIR. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to help break this all down for you, and do more in-depth focuses on what the different aspects of CIR are, and what they mean for our community and for the communities we care about.
One of the most pressing aspects of CIR, especially from the perspective of the Jewish community, is family unity. Families face tremendous backlogs trying to bring new members to America – some people have to wait up to 20 years for their sibling or child to gain legal entry. There are currently 4.7 million people in the family immigration backlog waiting unconscionable periods of time to reunite with their family members. Moreover, LGBT couples face even tougher obstacles, as current law does not allow a same-sex partner to sponsor the visa of a spouse in a comparable way that heterosexual spouses can, thereby separating couples and families potentially indefinitely. Gay and lesbian Americans who fall in love across borders face an impossible choice between being with the person they love and staying in their country.
Yet despite the clear humanitarian implications of tearing apart families with no clear system for reunification, comprehensive family unity provisions are by no means a guarantee in an immigration bill. In fact, some are seeking to further limit the amount of visas granted to family members in favor of “high skilled worker” visas (more on that to come in a future post), and LGBT-inclusive language is still being debated.
It is essential that as people of faith, we lift up our voices in favor of family unity as a key priority in comprehensive immigration reform – family unity that is inclusive of all families, and that fixes a broken system that has for too long kept parents from children, siblings from siblings, and spouses from spouses.
In addition to sending a more general letter to your member of Congress in support of comprehensive immigration reform, you can participate in TODAY’s faith call-in day. Call 1-866-940-2439 and tell your Representatives that you support immigration reform that includes a pathway to full citizenship and prioritizes family unity moving forward.