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Years apart: spouses wait for green cards

We have previously talked about how the U.S. immigration system allows for American citizens to sponsor their spouses for immigration visas, but just because two people are married doesn't mean that they will always be able to be together. Take, for example, the case of a couple who had to wait for quite a while before the husband was able to get a green card and join his wife in the United States. For them, the immigration system kept their family apart for two long years.

The couple had already had their family torn apart by the Korean War and, possibly in an attempt to forge a better life, the family tried to immigrate to the United States. Even though the couple was married, the wife had to wait for two years for her husband to join her in the United States. For a new immigrant trying to create a brand new life, being apart from a spouse for such an extended period of time can be overwhelmingly difficult.

So, what happened? It is highly unlikely that the wife was an American citizen at the time of her wedding. If she had been, it should have been considerably easier and quicker to bring her husband over from South Korea. What probably happened was that she was already living in the United States when she married him. Regardless of why, this family's story is so similar to others in Pennsylvania: years apart waiting for the immigration system to give a relative a small slip of paper that allows them into the country.

As the federal government returns to work, it can again focus on passing immigration reform, one that will hopefully keep families like this one in mind.

Source: ACLU, “Keeping Families Together is the Heart of Immigration Debate,” Heejin Hwang, Oct. 11, 2013

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