According to the U.S. Department of State, roughly 1.5 million people immigrated to the United States in 2021. Immigration remains one of the most discussed and debated topics in the United States. With the influx of information available, especially on social media platforms, separating fact from fiction has become increasingly challenging. Family immigration, in particular, has several myths associated with it that can cloud understanding and perpetuate misinformation.
Gaining a clearer picture of family immigration requires debunking these myths and ensuring you have accurate information.
Myth #1: It is easy for any family member to gain legal entry into the U.S.
Many believe that having a family member in the US makes it easy to get a visa or green card. In reality, the process is quite complex. While immediate family members, like spouses or minor children, may have a more straightforward path, others, like siblings or adult children, often face longer waiting periods and additional requirements.
Myth #2: Once in the U.S., immigrants can quickly bring in extended families
The term “chain migration” often comes up in discussions, leading people to believe that one immigrant can quickly bring over an entire extended family. The truth is, the process involves a rigorous vetting procedure. For instance, while a U.S. citizen can petition for a sibling’s immigration, they cannot do the same for cousins, aunts, uncles or grandparents.
Myth #3: Marrying a U.S. citizen guarantees instant citizenship
Marrying a US citizen does provide a potential path to residency and eventually citizenship, but it is far from instant. The spouse still needs to go through the application process, prove the legitimacy of the marriage and possibly face waiting times.
Myth #4: Children born in the U.S. to non-citizen parents are not automatically U.S. citizens
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” This means children born in the U.S., even to non-citizen parents, are automatically U.S. citizens.
Myth #5: Family-based immigration poses security risks
There is a misconception that family-based immigrants are not as thoroughly vetted. In reality, all immigrants, whether they come through family or other channels, undergo rigorous background checks and screenings before receiving visas or green cards.
Immigration, especially when it concerns families, is a topic laden with emotions and misconceptions. By debunking myths and gaining clarity, you can foster understanding and empathy toward those looking to reunite with their families in the United States.