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Dear Editor:
I provide social services and have met both legal and undocumented immigrants. Your comments assume that most illegal immigrants are here to work, which is true to an extent. It has been my experience though that many bring their families with them instead of enduring years of separation and heartache. The parents of the children want their children to have an opportunity for a better life. If family-based immigration wasn't so backlogged, many of these adults and children would be legal immigrants. It is currently taking 4-5 years for a LPR to bring his/her spouse and minor children, not including the time the LPR parent was probably away while obtaining LPR status. Or, take the case of an asylee. If they get married to a non-American after they receive their asylum, it can take 14-15 years to bring their spouse. According to USCIS, it takes 9-10 years for an asylee to be given LPR status, after the 1-year wait period following the granting of asylum. If it is granted, asylum can take up to several years. Would you want to wait 15 years to be with your wife or husband and your children? Illegal immigration is a huge and complex problem with no single answer but perhaps eliminating the tremendous backlog of family related immigration cases could turn a portion of the illegal immigration population into legal immigrants and keep families together. It is inhumane to just bring workers but not allow their families. It is reminiscent of how we dealt with the Chinese immigrants years ago telling them "you can build our railroads but we don't want your wives and children here".

natalie fair-albright



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