The most recent data shows that more than half of all legal immigrants in the U.S. obtained their permanent residence through family-based immigration. Current immigration law states that it is possible for a lawful permanent resident, or LPR, as well as U.S. citizens in New Jersey to provide sponsorship for a family member so that they may obtain a visa under certain circumstances. Once obtained, this visa will grant the immigrating family member permanent residence in the United States. It’s the type of visa that is commonly referred to as “a green card.”
Family-based immigration is not new
The United States has used family-based immigration law since its initial Colonial days back in the 17th century. However, it wasn’t until 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was enacted that these sorts of familial connections became the most common way for immigrants to successfully find permanent residence in the United States.
Those who are opposed to family-based immigration call out what they describe as “chain migration.” This is the process by which those who legally immigrate to the United States then sponsor further family members, allowing a “chain” of immigrants into the country. Those who have these concerns with family-based immigration believe that these examples of chain migration are unsustainable and are indicative of the failing of the United States’ legal immigration system currently in place.
The two groups who are eligible for a family visa are immediate relatives and family preference categories. Immediate relatives include people like spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, orphans, and parents. Common family preference categories are siblings, their spouses, and unmarried children as well as their own spouses and children.