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Value Our Families Teams Up With U.S. Rep. Judy Chu to Celebrate Reintroduction of Reuniting Families Act

September 19, 2023 News

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Value Our Families Teams Up With U.S. Rep. Judy Chu to Celebrate Reintroduction of Reuniting Families Act

Press conference marks the reintroduction of landmark legislation that contains common-sense fixes to complex problems in the family immigration system

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Value Our Families (VOF) coalition joined U.S. Rep. Judy Chu to celebrate the reintroduction of the Reuniting Families Act, a landmark bill containing common-sense fixes to a family immigration system that has seen no reforms in more than 30 years.

The Reuniting Families Act goes beyond the fraught politics that today accompany most immigration measures to bring everyone together around the long-standing values of protecting families and enacting common-sense solutions for existing processes.

Last introduced in 2019, the Reuniting Families Act will help almost 4 million people caught in family immigration backlogs, some of whom have waited more than a decade, to reunite with family members.

“Family-based immigration is an American value and contributes to the economic prosperity and resilience of our nation, but our broken immigration system forces almost 4 million people with approved green card applications to suffer in bureaucracy for years, if not decades,” said Rep. Chu. “My common-sense Reuniting Family Act, with provisions now incorporated into bipartisan legislation, would fix these problems and finally allow our neighbors working to achieve their American dream to have their most essential support network at their side, here.”

Among other sensible measures, the Reuniting Families Act will:

  • More than double number of available family preference visas
  • Raise existing per-country yearly visa limits, so the wait is not so long for countries with high levels of migration
  • Set an absolute time limit on visa processing, so no applicant has to wait more than 10 years for a visa if they have an approved application

“No one should have to wait decades to hug a parent or sibling because of paperwork backlogs,” said Alaide Vilchis Ibarra, campaign director at Value Our Families. “We uphold family unity as one of this country’s foundational values, and we look to this legislation to ensure that everyone thrives in this country.”

“Because of long family preference backlogs, I have been separated from my family for seven years,” said Daishi Miguel-Tanaka, legislative manager at The Immigration Hub. “My parents had to stay thousands of miles away for birthdays, Christmas mornings, and my college graduation. The American dream is for dreaming together, not alone; it should be shared with family. It’s clear our immigration system is long overdue for reform, and Congresswoman Chu’s legislation is a step in the right direction.”

“The family-based immigration system, as it is, is not only inefficient but a force behind family separation,” said Michelle Liang, policy manager at the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC). “People are forced to wait decades to reunite with family members separated from them by oceans. This reality is unjust, for we all know that we thrive because of our families. Valuing immigrants means valuing our families.”

"Too many life events can happen in 10 to 20 years in a family torn apart by our inefficient and cruel immigration system, including devastating losses and missed rites of passage,” said Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). “The Reuniting Families Act, introduced by a true people's champion, Rep. Judy Chu, recognizes that paper backlogs can be solved but that people's lives cannot be redone once something dramatic has taken place during decades of separation. We support this legislation as we support the recognition that immigrants are human beings who contribute and make our nation rich and strong."

"Families should not be punished for the failings of our bureaucracy,” said African Communities Together Policy Director Diana Konaté. “We welcome the reintroduction of the Reuniting Families Act. As an organization dedicated to serving African immigrants, we have witnessed the painful outcomes that immigration backlogs create. This bill is not about political games. It is about giving millions of people that opportunity to have peace of mind and finally live their lives in the U.S. with their family by their side."

Asian Americans Advancing Justice
, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations, published the following statement: "Whether we moved here recently or many years ago, most of us strive to put down roots, build community, and give our families a good life. For generations, some politicians have turned away from common sense solutions and used arbitrary rules and a wasteful bureaucracy to divide and distract our communities. With the Reuniting Families Act, we show that all families have the right to be together. We applaud Rep. Judy Chu for reintroducing an important bill that will reunite parents, permanent partners, spouses, and children, while honoring our values."

The Value Our Families Campaign exists to protect, preserve, and strengthen family immigration. We are a network of local and national community-based and advocacy organizations promoting an immigration system informed by love, empathy and justice, and rejecting policies that harm immigrant families. We build public support for an immigration system that protects family unity and contributes to this country’s social and economic fabric. For more information, visit Value Our Families.