This report is the first in a series that documents the effects of US immigration laws and policies on immigrants. Although family unity is a pillar of the US immigration system, this system devastates many US families. Processing delays, backlogs, and poor service hurt both petitioners and potential recipients of family-based visas. In addition, sponsorship requirements keep the working poor separated from their immediate relatives.
The report also details the impact of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 on US families with undocumented members. It provides an overview of how US immigration laws impact victims of domestic violence, and immigrant families with members with criminal convictions. It also details the devastating consequences on families of detention, workplace raids, and border enforcement strategies. It concludes by detailing the human toll of unauthorized legal practitioners on immigrant families. It urges that US immigration laws and policies be reformed to advance the nation’s interest in strong and intact families.