North America

North America

Fixing What’s Most Broken in the US Immigration System: A Profile of the Family Members of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents Mired in Multiyear Backlogs

This paper offers estimates and a profile of the 1.55 million US residents potentially eligible for a family-based immigration visa based on a qualifying relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) living in their household.  It finds that this population – which is strongly correlated to the 3.7 million persons in family-based visa backlogs – has established long and strong roots in the United States, with US-born citizen children, mortgages, health insurance, and median income and labor force participation rates that exceed those of the overall US population. The paper offers several recommendations to reduce family-based backlogs.  First, it calls for Congress to pass and the administration to implement legislation that provides a path to LPR status for persons in long-term backlogs. This legislation should: 1) define the spouses and minor unmarried children of LPRs as “immediate relatives” not subject to numerical limits, 2) not count the derivative family members of principal visa beneficiaries against per country and annual quotas, and 3) raise per country caps. The administration should also re-issue the visas of legal immigrants who emigrate each year, particularly those who formally abandon LPR status. Finally, Congress should also advance the cutoff date for the US registry program.

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Monica Boyd of University of Toronto reviews Gender and U.S. Immigration: Contemporary Trends by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo.  Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo posits that resurgent immigration is one of the most powerful forces disrupting and realigning everyday life in the United States and elsewhere, and...

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Arturo Ignacio Sánchez of Barnard College reviews Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City by Arlene Dávila.  Arlene Dávila brilliantly considers the cultural politics of urban space in this lively exploration of Puerto Rican and Latino experience in New...

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Timothy Meagher of Catholic University of America reviews Land! Irish Pioneers in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas by Graham Davis.  Graham Davis tells an Irish-Texan story of the search for land by recounting the experiences of the original empresarios John McMullen,...

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Gaston A. Fernandez of Indiana State University reviews This Land is Our Land: Immigrants and Power in Miami, by Alex Stepick, Guillermo Grenier, Marvin Dunn and Max Castro.  The authors describe Miami as the de facto capital of Latin America; it...

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