Legal immigration to the United States relies primarily on a potential immigrant’s family relationships or job skills since enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. The Hart–Celler Act created a preference system that gives priority to relatives and children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, professionals and other individuals with specialized skills, and refugees.
Family immigration laws allow citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or “green card” holders to sponsor certain family members who immigrate to the United States. Over 480,000 family visas are available each year. Immigrants can enter the United States as direct relatives of U.S. citizens or through the family priority system.
Immigrants play an essential role in the U.S. economy due to their contribution to local communities and diversification of the national fabric. They represent a significant proportion of national economic growth, contribute to the well-being of the current and future workforce, play a key role in business development and community improvement, and are the most upwardly mobile part of the workforce.
There are many social and economic benefits that are associated with family migration. Those seeking to sponsor a family member or those who are themselves looking to immigrate to the United States can seek the help of a knowledgeable family immigration attorney to assist them throughout the process.
Here are some of the reasons why family immigration is highly beneficial:
- Thriving ethnic communities
In many metropolitan areas in the United States, communities such as Little Italy and Chinatown were originally immigrant enclaves and later became important economic and cultural centers. The key to forming these communities is allowing foreign family members to reunite with their families in the United States. Also, ethnic communities are often more organized in resisting gentrification and creating a sense of belonging.
- Financial support
Legal residents and citizens sponsoring family members may need to submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, to show that they can provide financial support to their foreign relatives. The form is used to sponsor visa applicants and show they will not become “public charges” while in the United States. You must file a separate affidavit for each applicant.
If there is no such financial support, a visa is not likely to be granted. The potential economic benefit of this requirement is that it encourages families to focus their monetary resources, which must exceed the federal poverty level in the area where they live, thus reducing the possibility of financial hardship. Families may also need to consider completing Form I-864 and Form I-130. Most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants use the Form I-864 to demonstrate adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support. The Form I-130 is used if you are a U.S. citizen or LPR who needs to prove their relationship to an eligible relative who wishes to come to or remain in the United States permanently and get a Green Card.
Forms such as the I-134 might be complicated for some people to understand and fill out correctly. Moreover, rules and regulations related to the purpose, use, and information collected in these forms are in flux. Therefore, it is best to consult an experienced immigration lawyer.
- Moving up the socioeconomic ladder
The initial income gap between family-based immigrants and employment-based immigrants tends to narrow dramatically over time. New immigrants have become the most mobile American workers. This is because the rate of investment in human capital after immigration is very high. Immigration is also beneficial for the entire economy.
- Critical for the “Care Economy”
- Health care and unpaid child care provided primarily by immigrant women in the family contribute to the physical, cognitive, and emotional development of family members. These contributions aid in improvements in individual well-being and contribute to the human development of the country.
- Since unpaid family and community activities occur outside the market, they are invisible in economic statistics. Groups such as the Pan American Health Organization and the International Labor Organization have emphasized the importance of recognizing the role of unpaid work in families and communities.
- The economic value of unpaid work performed by immigrants represents a large part of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In particular, statistics on time use show that outstanding voluntary work contributes to well-being, human capacity building, and long-term economic growth in various countries and accounts for maximum working time, possibly accounting for more than 50% of total working time.
- The households of other relatives favor the participation of immigrant women in the labor market. In other words, when other family members (such as parents or siblings) can meet daily family needs, women are more likely to participate in the labor market. Thus, family-income immigrants who can care for children or the elderly at home are a valuable asset to the country.
- Has a positive impact on business development and community improvement
Family bonds play a crucial role in promoting the formation of immigrant communities, which in turn provide a fertile environment for business development. In this regard, evidence from case studies found that immigrant families that are expanded and closely connected to immigrant communities promoted the economic assimilation of new immigrants and thus promoted investment in human capital in the United States and the formation of businesses.
Many world-leading high-tech companies are founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs. A big chunk of new business founded in the U.S. is by immigrants, many of whom came to the country on family visas.
Attracting immigrant families is a wise policy
Family-based immigration is effective. Albert Einstein became more comfortable in the United States after bringing his beloved sister Maya from Germany. Chain migration is a myth. Foreigners who wish to sponsor family members to join their trip to the United States do so to jointly build a better and safer future provided by it.
The concept of family reunion is deeply ingrained in American values. The highly positive impact of family-based immigration is not only economic but also humanitarian. You can guarantee a positive result by looking for an immigration attorney in Seattle. We are a leading law firm where you can consult experienced attorneys to handle all your immigration needs.