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New in the #1 Spot: The Reuniting Families Act

June 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

For months, the Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act held the number one most-viewed bill slot on OpenCongress. But all of a sudden two bills, both dealing with immigration issues, but from starkly different angles, have surpassed it.

The Reuniting Families Act is now the most viewed bill on OpenCongress.

It’s a bill focused on reforming the family-based and employment-based immigration systems with a goal of putting more focus on these areas in overall U.S. immigration policy. One of its main affects would be to speed up the process for family members of legal immigrants to secure visas. Specifically, it would reclassify spouses and children of legal immigrants as immediate relatives, raise the per-country family-sponsored immigration limits from 7 percent to 10 percent of total admissions, recapture visas that went unused in previous years due to bureaucratic errors, allow widows and spouses to remain eligible for visas after the death of a sponsoring family member, and more.

The bill now in the number two most-viewed slot on OpenCongress is the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009.

That bill would eliminate birthright citizenship status for children born to undocumented immigrants with U.S. borders. Current U.S. law automatically recognizes any person born on American soil as natural born citizen. Under the bill, only children with at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident, or an undocumented immigrant serving in the military would be considered citizens.

Do either of these have any chance of passing? I would guess that they both have a better chance than the gun bill that was previously in the top slot, with the Reuniting Families Act having a much better chance than the Birthright Citizenship Act. The Reuniting Families Act, which was only recently introduced, already has some powerful Democrat co-sponsors, including Sen. Edward Kennedy [D, MA] and Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY]. Furthermore, there is some indication that congressional Democrats want to push certain aspects of immigration reform, and this certainly sounds and looks like a bill they would support. The Senate Judiciary Committee, for example, is holding the Uniting American Families Act of 2009.

Below are a few of the user comments from the Reuniting Families Act bill page that have been rated “most useful”:

This bill helps the U.S. economy by -
1. Relieving the emotional stress on families that are waiting to re-unite, and hence helping them be more productive. A happy family can make decisions about job, career and other matters that will make them a more productive contributor to the society and economy.
2. The bill DOES NOT invite more immigrants to the U.S. that would challenge the American workforce. It merely helps make life easier for immigrants that are already in the U.S. and are already legal, tax-paying contributors to the economy.
3. The bill DOES NOT require a major shift in immigration policy. It is merely asking to adjust for some bureaucratic delays that were not intended to happen as part of the immigration law. -ajaykataria
This bill is a move in the right direction in the jungle of immigration. Once passed this bill will provide the much needed resolution to the unending wait for thousands of people legally waiting to be permanent residents. It will also send the message to those watching this great nation that this is a land that values the law and the people who take great pains to abide by the law of this land. I humbly request the lawmakers to support this bill and provide solace to people like me waiting for years to be a PR. -gmathew
This is a bill long due now..
It will not only relieve lot of people who are paying their taxes and following the laws and of course helping the US economy from the anxiety of maintaining their legal status, stamping visas etc.
It will also allow most of them to start their own companies and help the US economy by creating more jobs.
Stability in terms of job and legal status means that most of us will also be able to buy houses instead of sending the US $ overseas to our home country..
I hope this bill is acted upon this year and its not sidelined as it happened last year with the recapture bill introduced by Zoe Lofgren. -ashishgour
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