From EPPN, the Episcopal Public Policy Network:
Stand up for Families
Family unity has been a central piece of our immigration system for more than 40 years.
Even though our immigration system makes family immigration a priority, lengthy backlogs, inadequate caps and preference categories are undermining that goal. For families seeking reunification the process can become complicated, time consuming and a burdensome.
Imagine that you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. You hold a steady job and have petitioned for your wife and young child (under 21 years of age and unmarried) to come and join you. If you filed your petition in 2002, your wife and young child would have waited until 2007 to be granted their visas (five years is approximately the waiting time for this category, but can take up to seven years). During those five years you must reside predominantly in the U.S due to your permanent legal resident status and your wife and child, due to their pending application, are not permitted to travel to the U.S to see you. The system as it stands clearly does not serve the American people or their loved ones and systematically separates and destroys families. We need to improve our immigration laws to help families to be reunited in a timely manner and recognize the value that families bring to our communities.
To address some of these challenges Rep. Honda introduced the Reuniting Families Act HR1796. This bill attempts to improve family reunification for immigrant families by among other things: recapturing visas that are unused every year; reclassifying spouses and minor children of Green Card holders as immediate relatives; increasing the government’s discretion and flexibility in addressing numerous hardships, including family separation; and eliminating discrimination facing LGBT families throughout our immigration laws.
The Episcopal Church is committed to creating fair and humane immigration policies, believing that enforcement of immigration laws should respect human rights, treating immigrants with dignity and humanely. Children and families should not suffer and live in fear due to a broken immigration system or disproportionate enforcement.