Immigration–a System in Need of Reform

Last night I told you about a family from my son’s school who got trapped in the immigration struggles and now the Dad is stuck in another country and Mom and kids are here.

Today, I wanted to share some information I found online about how hard it is to actually get through the immigration system.   At the bottom of this post is a link to the article I got the information from.

The first thing we need to look at is a flow chart that outlines the process of getting a green card.   It looks like this:

Immigration Flow Chart

Can you understand it?  I can’t.  Can you imagine how difficult and how long it takes to actually navigate through it?

The second thing I want you to look at is the Family Bulletin showing in February of 2018 the green card applications they are processing for certain countries and the dates that those applications were filed.  There are, I understand, two ways to get a visa – for employment or because you have family here.  


Here’s a listing of what the categories mean:

F1: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.

F2A: Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents.

F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents.

F3: Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.

F4: Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens.

So let’s look at some examples of how long it takes:

  • If you are looking to get a green card and you are not married and your parent (one or both) is a US Citizen and you are from Mexico, if you applied for the green card in July of 1996, the application is finally being processed.  That means if you applied for it when you were 10, you are now 32 years old.
  • If you are the married child of a US Citizen looking to come from the Philippines and get a green card, you have waited 23 years since you applied.  So, let’s say that you got married when you were 20, applied when you were 22, you are now 43 years old.   Oh and you and your spouse have since had a couple of children as well.   How do they figure into the time line?

The system is broken.

When a system is broken, people try to find another way to work around the system.   As someone pointed out to me yesterday, the Pilgrims were dealing with a broken system – so they found a way around and just left.

We need to balance the need for legal protections with a system that does not deny the rights and desires (and frankly in many cases needs) of people who want a better life.  Yes, I’m going to mention this – the delays are not necessarily coming for people from Norway who look a lot like the people who currently are the majority in our government.  No, the delays are from countries were people don’t look like the “white majority.”   Yes that makes me uncomfortable to say but unfortunately, I believe it to be true.

The article that much of this information came from can be found at

Even if you apply the Vanderwell Rule of 50% and say that the numbers in that article are vastly overstated, reduce them by 50%.   Is it still legitimate and morally responsible to have people way 12 or 13 years for their application for a green card to be processed (not approved – it might be denied – can you imagine waiting 13 years and then it gets denied?)

Tomorrow (maybe later today), I’ll have a list of resources of people and places you can contact to urge our government to reform immigration and do better than what we have.   Because what we have, as we saw last night, separates families, and that’s not right.


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