Comment: Abolish Family Immigration
The 113th Congress got started with immigration early, with a hearing before the House Judiciary committee today; the Senate Judiciary committee will follow next Wednesday with a hearing of its own. Unlike the House, the Senate is sending signals that markup on a bill will commence next month - potentially setting up a floor vote in both chambers this spring itself. Both political parties are clearly indicating that "overhaul" and "modernization" of our immigration laws are overdue. Naturally, many parts of our immigration system will be addressed by Congress in a comprehensive bill. However, it would be naive to think that a major overhaul will fail to address the largest single component of our current immigration framework - family immigration.
Immigration Daily has long been on record that the FB2A quota is morally unjustifiable, in that separating spouses and minor children is a horror and should be ended, completely and permanently - either admit the entire family unit as a whole, or keep them all out as a whole but in no event should a biological family be separated by our immigration laws. Naturally, this same argument would apply to the bulk of those admitted currently under the "immediate relative" heading, unhindered by quota - for spouses and minor children of citizens as much as permanent residents, the biological entity of a nuclear family should be equally sacrosanct.
What about the other family categories - parents included in immediate relatives, FB1, FB2B, FB3 and FB4? We believe that some in Congress are thinking boldly to abolish them all. After all, if one agrees that immigrants come to the USA primarily for the opportunity to work, then none of the family categories are necessary (other than the nuclear family). So long as the employment side of the immigration system is suitably expanded, the practical consequences to immigrants will be minimal: a green card is a green card, regardless of whether it was obtained through the family based route or the employment based route. There will be some, particularly elderly parents, who may not find any way to immigrate through the employment categories, but a downside is to be expected from any major change. Furthermore, the financial benefits to the USA would be maximized if elderly parents, likely to be large drains on Social Security and Medicare, were excluded from the immigration system - such financial benefits would, in turn, be the key argument in favor of a path to citizenship in a comprehensive bill (no taxation without representation!).
Since change, major change, appears to be in the air, and likely to be on the statute books soon, we encourage all to think creatively about our national immigration scheme - including completely re-wiring the whole thing from scratch. There's no better place to begin than by re-thinking family immigration.
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