More U.S. citizens may reunite with overseas family members if Congress passes the Reuniting Families Act in a bill introduced on May 20 by Sen. Robert Menendez (D–N.J.), Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand (D–N.Y.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.), and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D–Mass.).
If the bill passes, it will reduce the family visa backlog of more than 4 million, which keeps more than 20,000 immigrants from getting visas each year. Without a visa, an immigrant is not allowed to visit the United States.
The bill aims to send unused visas to a pool of visas available for immigrants and will shorten delays for spouses and minors of U.S. citizens to enter the country. The reuniting of Filipino American World War II veterans and their families will also be expedited — a response likely due to racial discrimination against the veterans in the past 60 years.
Menendez says the Reuniting Families Act is a step toward rebuilding a broken family immigration system that has left the family unity — a core American value — neglected. ♦