Trump Administration Targets Family Immigration

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Trump Administration Targets Family Immigration

Update date:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 14:30

The Trump Administration’s proposal to reform U.S. immigration law has targeted what administration officials are calling Chain Migration.  The term refers to the ability of U.S. Citizens to sponsor the immigration of family members, such as spouses, parents, children, brothers, and sisters, and their families. The President’s proposal seeks to eliminate the ability of U.S. Citizens to sponsor parents, non-minor children, brothers, and sisters. These cuts would not go into effect until the current wait list of family immigrant applications is cleared, meaning that immigration applications that are filed before the proposal becomes law can still be processed and approved. For this reason, now is the time to consider sponsoring family members that qualify under the current law.  The following is a general overview of the family immigration process under the existing law.


The immigration process involves several steps that range from 7 months to many years. 

U.S. Citizens begin by filing the appropriate petition(s) with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  Sometimes these petitions may be filed while the family member is in the United States, while at other times the family member may remain abroad during the application process. If the family member is permitted and chooses to be in the United States, the immigration process generally begins with filing the Form I-130 and Form I-485, along with other required USCIS forms and supporting documentation.  The family member will then complete the entire process in the United States, including attending an interview at a local USCIS office.


If the family member is living abroad, the process often begins with just the Form I-130 and supporting documentation.  After USCIS approves the Form I-130, the sponsored family member may start consular processing or must wait for a visa to become available before they can complete the immigration process if the case is in the preference category.  Visas are immediately made available to a U.S. Citizen’s spouse, parent (if the citizen is 21 years or older), or an unmarried child under the age of 21.  However, other qualifying members are required to wait.  Once a visa is available, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing and eventually an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.


To learn more about family immigration and the proposed changes to the law, please contact our family immigration team directly by calling or e-mailing Attorney Michael Shepsis at 800-345-1899 ext. 121 or


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The information provided is not intended as legal advice. This article contains general information and is intended for informational purposes only. If you have a question about your situation please contact an attorney directly.