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How Does Family-Based Immigration Help the US?

Posted by Matthew Green | Jan 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

The United States makes 480,000 family-based visas available each year. Family-based immigration has been popular since the implementation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1965. Aliens may be admitted into the U.S. as either an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or through the family preference system.

For whatever reason, some people may think that immigrants do not contribute to the nation's economy. However, this could not be further from the truth! Family-based immigrants actually account for an impressive share of domestic economic growth. These immigrants make up an important part of the labor force, both now and in the future, and tend to be the most upwardly mobile of all workers.

Consistently, immigrant men and women have been making considerable social and economic contributions on a local and national scale. The following are some examples of ways that these contributions are made.

(1) Anytime a person enters into a new living situation, it is helpful to have support from family. This is especially true when an immigrant comes to the U.S. and is looking for work and other opportunities. Many immigrants will rely on family in order to secure work and receive access to credit. This situation is helpful to the U.S. because these immigrants come to the U.S. with a built-in support system and are less likely to become dependent on types of government aid.

(2) Family-based immigration provides for positive developments in business and community improvement. When a community is comprised of family units, there is good opportunity for economic growth.

A great example of this growth is in the field of technology. Notably, the founders of Google, eBay, Intel and Yahoo! were founded by immigrants who came to the U.S. through the family-based immigration system.

Some local governments wish to revitalize communities with the help of family-based immigrants. Cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit have all started programs with the hope of attracting immigrants and resuscitating their failing economies. This is not a new idea. Neighborhoods like Little Italy and Chinatown were both used to aid a struggling economy.

(3) Statistics show that immigrants who came to the U.S. through family-based means are more likely than others to move up the socioeconomic ladder. Keep in mind that these immigrants typically start off earning lower wages than occupation-based immigrants, but experience a higher earnings growth than this group of immigrants.

New immigrants are now the most upwardly mobile of all American workers. The majority of new immigrants have entered the U.S. through family-based means and invest in post-immigration human capital.

(4) Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who immigrate to the U.S. experience high earnings and high rates of self-employment.  Studies have shown that immigrant siblings of U.S. citizens have contributed significantly to the nation's well-being.

Some argue that this is true because these family-based immigrants will typically experience a higher initial earning than family-admitted immigrants as a whole. It has also been shown that they see higher earnings growth over time.

If you have questions about immigration matters or are seeking legal representation, contact my office today. We look forward to hearing from you!

About the Author

Matthew Green

Managing Partner. Green | Evans-Schroeder (formerly Law Offices of Matthew H. Green) focuses on the aggressive defense of immigrants. A native of Arizona, Mr. Green understands the difficulties that immigrants and families of immigrants face when a loved one is charged with a crime. He knows how frightening it can be for some...


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