If the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill that just passed in the U.S. Senate is also passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law later this year, it will likely provide a “pathway to citizenship” for many undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. However, as with any major piece of legislation, compromises have been and will continue to be made along the way. One such compromise is the elimination of the existing family-sponsored preference category for siblings, which allows adult U.S. citizens to sponsor their brothers and sisters for lawful permanent residence at a rate of 65,000 each year. If the CIR bill becomes law as it is now written, these sibling petitions (I-130s: Petitions for Alien Relatives) will only be accepted for 18 months after the law becomes effective.
O Brother (and Sister), Where Art Thou?
What does this mean for U.S. Citizens, at least 21 years of age or older, who want to petition for a sibling to immigrate as a green card holder (permanent resident)?
- If you have already filed a sibling petition and are waiting for a green card (or visa number) to become available, it is doubtful that the passage of CIR will affect your case. It would be difficult for the government to revoke previous approvals and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will most likely continue to process the backlog of sibling petitions that have already been filed. This means that the Department of State’s visa bulletin will continue to show which petitions are eligible to receive green cards each month, by priority date (the date on which the petitions were initially filed, as shown on your USCIS receipt and/or approval notice).
- If you have NOT already filed a petition for your sibling, the time to act may be now . . . or never. As people begin to learn about the possible elimination of the F4 family-sponsored preference category for siblings of adult U.S. Citizens, there is likely to be a filing rush. Even if the CIR bill does not become law, there will almost certainly be an anticipatory increase in the number of sibling petitions filed. Green cards are issued on a “first approved, first served” basis. Thus, the sooner you file for your sibling(s) the better.
The Attorneys of U.S. Immigration Law Group are Here to Assist You and Your Family
As with all immigration matters, the attorneys of U.S. Immigration Law Group, LLP have the knowledge and experience to assist you in correctly filing the proper forms and documents necessary to sponsor your family members, including siblings, to join you in the United States. We would be happy to discuss how best to proceed with your immigration goals in light of the potential elimination of sibling immigration under the family-sponsored preference system. Please contact our firm to schedule a consultation.