How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families: Hearing Before the United States Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, March 18, 2013   [open pdf - 954KB]

This testimony compilation is from the March 18, 2013 hearing, "How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families," before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. From the opening statement of Patrick Leahy: "Today the Committee will examine ways comprehensive immigration reform can address the needs of women and families. For years, long visa backlogs in our immigration system have prevented families from being together. An estimated 4 million close family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders are waiting to join their relatives in America. Some of these families, predominantly from Mexico and the Philippines, have waited more than 20 years to be reunited. This is simply unacceptable. While preserving family unity is a core tenet of our immigration policy, our broken immigration system is instead hurting families. This has devastating consequences, especially for the women and children who bear the brunt of the unsettled environment our immigration system causes. New immigrants often face the reality of spending prolonged periods of time without their loved ones because the broken immigration system has little to no flexibility. Beyond that, it is punitive to families seeking to lawfully enter the United States because lawful permanent residents must wait over two years to be reunited with their spouse or children. Newly naturalized citizens must wait over seven years to be reunited with their adult children and over ten years for their siblings. I believe that families should be protected. Our immigration system must honor the love that binds spouses and children. It should come as no surprise when spouses, desperate to reunite with their loved ones, overstay a tourist visa or cross the border without authorization." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Mazie Hirono, Patrick Leahy, Ai-jen Poo, Karen Panetta, Mee Moua, Susan Martin, and Jennifer Ng'andu.

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