I respectfully disagree with the editorial position of ILW.COM that the
majority of immigrant visas should be employer-based, rather than
family-based. Family reunification has been, and should remain, the
cornerstone of our legal immigration system since 1965.
The US Senate appropriately rejected reliance on a Canadian-style
point system and the elimination of the brother and sister preference
during the debate over the Immigration Act of 1990. Many, if not most,
immigrants come to the United States for jobs and economic advancement.
But they are not married to their jobs and do not shed their love and
devotion to family members. Family sponsored immigrants come here to work,
too, and contribute to the economy and the society. They have the support
networks that family relationships provide and that an employer-based
system lacks. It makes perfect sense and serves the national interest to
allocate more visas to those individuals seeking admission whose family
members already in the US desire their entry.
We need both family-sponsored and employer-sponsored immigrants and not
one to the exclusion of the other. (The writer was counsel to the late Senator Paul Simon on the US Senate
Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee from 1987 to 1993.)
San Francisco, CA
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