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house Bill H.R. 891

Should Family Sponsored Immigrant Visas Only Go to Spouses and Children?

Argument in favor

The immigration system should end “chain migration," otherwise known as family reunification migration, that lets lawful immigrants sponsor extended family members, and instead prioritize those visas on nuclear families.

Jim2423's Opinion
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04/12/2019
Yes this is very reasonable. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, sisters other relatives can get their own visas.
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Mark's Opinion
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04/12/2019
Chain migration must be ended. Visas only for immediate family members. And a spousal visa must be limited to a single spouse, as some are in fact claiming multiple spouses.
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JTJ's Opinion
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04/12/2019
Until the wall is built and we secure our border, there should be no sponsored immigration.
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Argument opposed

Visas that are currently available for extended family members of lawful permanent residents should remain in place, eliminating those visas and focusing on nuclear families is wrong.

burrkitty's Opinion
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04/12/2019
This ignores the importance of grandparents to families. My grandparents were essential to my childhood and helped raise me by looking after me while my parents worked. Multi-generation households are more common than ever as wages stagnant, the cost of living rises, and the boomers age. The envisioned ideal “nuclear family” of the 50’s didn’t jive with reality then or now. That’s not how humans work. We are tribal animals, not pack animals. The government needs to accept that and get with the times. Don’t destroy those bonds. They help keep families stable.
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Rebekah 's Opinion
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04/12/2019
Trump used "chain migration" to give citizenship to his porn star wife's parents and sister. The hypocricy is breathtaking.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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04/12/2019
Parents, grandparents, siblings and their families as well should be included. Has America suddenly become some special club that we want no one in? As long as they are vetted, we have plenty of room for all. Burr kitty read the bill just fine but I think someone else did not. She implies that chain migration Or family reunification is illegal which it is not. She misses the fact that if passed we would go from 266,000 visas to 88,000 per year and that at this time to get your whole family here unless you’re a Trump would take approximately 20 years or more.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 891?

This bill would reduce the number of family-sponsored immigrants by eliminating the extended family visa categories and replacing them with a single preference category that includes only the spouses and children of permanent residents & citizens. The total number of family-sponsored immigrant visas would be set at about 88,000 each fiscal year with reductions made to account for people who were granted visas but didn’t depart the country or who became permanent residents.

A nonimmigrant visa would be created for adult, non-citizen parents of adult U.S. citizens that would last for five years and could be extended. The visa wouldn’t allow the parent to work or receive any public benefit, and would require that the U.S. citizen son or daughter has arranged for health insurance coverage during their parent’s presence in the country.

Impact

Family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; U.S. customs and immigration services.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 891

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to end chain migration, which he says puts a "strain" on the U.S.' immigration system:

"With weekly jobless claims at their lowest since 1969, our economy continues to thrive under the Trump Administration. This growth has the unfortunate side effect of incentivizing those from other countries to come here – and come here illegally – in pursuit of greater opportunity. The strain on our immigration system starts at the border – frequently being flooded by thousands of people in caravans, who see not only the economic potential available to them in our country, but also our inability to detain and deport them... I have put forward a bill that would limit chain migration in favor of a system that prioritizes the reunification of spouses and minor children of naturalized citizens and lawful permanent residents. The Nuclear Family Priority Act would limit family-sponsored immigrant categories to the nuclear family by ensuring that immigrants with distant relatives already in the U.S. aren’t able to jump the line simply because of those familial connections. There is a process in place for newcomers to come to our country – and to do so legally."

In the past, Rep. Hice has referred to the need to “reform an antiquated immigration selection process and prioritize keeping nuclear families intact.”  Rep. Hice has introduced this bill in three consecutive Congresses (114th, 115th, and 116th)saying:

“Part of the problem the Nuclear Family Priority Act addresses is the false sense of assurance that legal status will be granted to the extended family of legal immigrants, regardless of their ability to contribute to our nation. This legislation does not hinder the efforts of legal immigrants to reunite with their immediate families in America, but instead prevents abuse of our overwhelmed immigration system.”

NumbersUSA supports this bill, writing: 

"[T]he Nuclear Family Priority Act would eliminate the three chain migration categories -- parents, adult siblings, and adult children -- and create a special non-working visa for parents. The legislation would directly decrease overall immigration by more than 111,800 per year (1.118 million a decade). This would indirectly reduce the numbers by even more over time as there would be fewer recent immigrants who are the ones most likely to bring people into the country as spouses or parents of U.S. citizens."

Cecilia Muñoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council in the Obama White House and currently a vice president at New America, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, argues that scaremongering about chain migration overstates its impact

"[A]llowing American citizens to reunite with their closest family members [is] a premise that dates back to a 1965 civil rights-focused law that established family reunification rather than racially based quotas as the basis for immigration to the United States. Under this law, when you fall in love and marry that guy you met while working in Shanghai, our immigration law is set up so that you can bring him home. And his 2-year-old. And when your family grows and you’d like his parents to help with child care, while it takes quite a few years, you’d ultimately be able to bring them, too. If we had a family immigration system without limits, this structure could theoretically lead to the dreaded chain migration. In addition to allowing you to bring that Chinese spouse, his child and ultimately his parents, once your spouse is a U.S. citizen, he can petition for his sister and her family. And in theory, once her spouse becomes a citizen, he could do the same for his siblings. But we don’t have an unlimited system. In fact, back in 1988, the federal agency then known as the General Accounting Office found that the immigration system’s waiting lists make chain migration a theory that doesn’t really happen in practice. This is because each link in the chain takes years—and sometimes decades—to complete. Bluntly put, America isn’t being overrun by Chinese- and Mexican-born grandmas. The GAO made this judgment because, back in the late ’80s, the waiting list for a typical family visa was six to 12 years, depending on the country. Now those waiting lists are much longer. It takes five years for your Chinese spouse to become a U.S. citizen and petition for his sister. The family visa system is badly backlogged; the U.S. is currently processing sibling visa requests for China that were filed in 2004, making the total wait for a visa just shy of two decades. For Mexico and the Philippines, the total wait now exceeds 25 years. Chain migration, put another way, is a myth—it takes too long for a chain to form."

This bill has 11 Republican cosponsors in the current session of Congress. Last session, it had 16 Republican cosponsors in the House.


Of Note: Since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the U.S. has prioritized admitting immigrants with relatives already in the country. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security, about 7 million of the 11 million immigrants who obtained green cards from 2007-2016 did so through family relations.

"Chain migration," or family reunification, is a process by which U.S. citizens and green card holders can receive visas for extended family members to immigrate to the U.S. The Dept. of Homeland Security has a hierarchical list, giving preference to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens first, followed by spouses and children of “alien” residents, married sons, daughters, and/or grandchildren of U.S. citizens and brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old.

Under current law, family sponsored immigrant visas are limited to 226,000 per year. 


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Bestgreenscreen / iStock)

AKA

Nuclear Family Priority Act

Official Title

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make changes related to family-sponsored immigrants and to reduce the number of such immigrants, and for other purposes.

    Yes this is very reasonable. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, sisters other relatives can get their own visas.
    Like (35)
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    This ignores the importance of grandparents to families. My grandparents were essential to my childhood and helped raise me by looking after me while my parents worked. Multi-generation households are more common than ever as wages stagnant, the cost of living rises, and the boomers age. The envisioned ideal “nuclear family” of the 50’s didn’t jive with reality then or now. That’s not how humans work. We are tribal animals, not pack animals. The government needs to accept that and get with the times. Don’t destroy those bonds. They help keep families stable.
    Like (100)
    Follow
    Share
    Trump used "chain migration" to give citizenship to his porn star wife's parents and sister. The hypocricy is breathtaking.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    Parents, grandparents, siblings and their families as well should be included. Has America suddenly become some special club that we want no one in? As long as they are vetted, we have plenty of room for all. Burr kitty read the bill just fine but I think someone else did not. She implies that chain migration Or family reunification is illegal which it is not. She misses the fact that if passed we would go from 266,000 visas to 88,000 per year and that at this time to get your whole family here unless you’re a Trump would take approximately 20 years or more.
    Like (41)
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    Family and extended family are way more important in cultures other than white male USA culture. As a grandparent, I resent our roles being discounted, not to mention all the others. Family is a heart centered concept, not genetic.
    Like (26)
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    Chain migration must be ended. Visas only for immediate family members. And a spousal visa must be limited to a single spouse, as some are in fact claiming multiple spouses.
    Like (23)
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    This sounds like another Conservative discrimination tactic. Then Conservatives will claim that the spouses must be male and female and prove that they actually love each other, and their marriage was not a business arrangement to get accepted in the U.S. this excludes grandparents, other relatives who are guardians because the parents were killed by illegal American guns, smuggled in to drug cartels, By Republicans. What if the parents were deceased, but older children are now guardians to the younger children?
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    Until the wall is built and we secure our border, there should be no sponsored immigration.
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    This is a step in the right direction. Stop chain migration. Legal immigration only. If the they cross the border illegally then return them to their country and put them at the back of the line. Illegal aliens should be the last people given entry. Come legal or don’t come at all!
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    The US can handle so much immigration. Chain migration has been detrimental to the US and needs to be reformed. This appears to be a fair bipartisan bill.
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    Another racist bill targeting Central American immigrants that are much more likely to seek to reunite with their extended family members. Extended family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are just as important as your immediate family. Clearly, the GOP is terrified of anybody from outside the country that doesn’t look or talk like them.
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    👍🏻👍🏻 “HICE” HOUSE BILL H.R.891 AKA NUCLEAR FAMILY ACT 👍🏻👍🏻 “NUCLEAR FAMILY” : The "traditional" mother-father family is designated in this report as a "nuclear family," defined as "one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all children in the family." Since this is a federal government publication of research conducted by a federal agency, same-sex couples are not included in this definition-the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines "marriage" as the union of a man and a woman for all purposes under federal law. This bill would reduce the number of family-sponsored immigrants by eliminating the extended family visa categories and replacing them with a single preference category that includes only the spouses and children of permanent residents & citizens. The total number of family-sponsored immigrant visas would be set at about 88,000 each fiscal year with reductions made to account for people who were granted visas but didn’t depart the country or who became permanent residents. The immigration system should end “chain migration," otherwise known as family reunification migration, that lets lawful immigrants sponsor extended family members, and instead prioritize those visas on nuclear families. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻NuclearFamily👍🏻👍🏻. 4*12*19.....
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    End chain migration, if extended family would like to become US citizens they can apply and come here legally. It allows parents/grandparents to come for a specific time limit that could be extended. Excellent bill. BURRKITTY didn’t read the details.
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    How incredibly culturally insensitive. The traditional “nuclear family” didn’t develop in this country until the 1950’s and is weakening due to multiple factors. It is also a model most of the world does not share. It is our own arrogance to think the world is like us or needs to conform to our ideas. To be the leaders we fancy ourselves to be, we need to be respectful of others models, norms, and traditions. Without that we are nothing but bullies.
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    Novel idea, but 50 years to late. Can’t wait to see who supports this approach.
    Like (9)
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    Don’t see why anyone outside that would be included
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    Well I think families including extended families should be kept together (as long as they are vetted). That said, you should consider how the 1st lady and her parents were able to come to America!
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    The extended family is often the only remaining family for many people immigrating due to oppression and adversity. The same forces compelling people to flee their country of origin have often destroyed a person’s nuclear family unit.
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    Now this I agree on
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    You should only be able to bring kids and spouses over.
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