Keeping Families Together

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Too often families are torn apart by imprudent immigration law. Rep. Eshoo has consistently supported legislation to reunite and keep families together.

One of the fundamental principles of American immigration law and policy is the notion of family unification which allows U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their spouses (and other family members) for immigration purposes. Unfortunately, current backlogs in the immigration system can force families to wait decades before being reunited in the United States.

In the 113th Congress, Rep. Eshoo is a cosponsor of H.R. 717, the Reuniting Families Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), which seeks to repair many of the longstanding problems in our family-based immigration system. Today, spouses, children, and parents are often separated for years or decades, even in cases where no one has violated any law. There are currently more than 2.8 million people in the family immigration backlog waiting to be reunited with their families. This bill takes important steps to fix the system by reducing the waiting times for legal immigrants, proposing solutions for reducing family immigration visa backlogs and promoting timely reunification of immigrant families.

Until recently, same-sex couples were not recognized as “families” under federal law, including U.S. immigration law. Because of this unjust policy, thousands of lesbian and gay bi-national couples were kept apart, and too many American citizens are forced to live in exile or in fear that their foreign partners will be deported. Rep. Eshoo was thrilled when, in June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitanoannounced that all legally married individuals would be treated equally under our nation’s immigration law.

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