Most Lancaster County residents probably know at least one person who wasn't born in the United States -- but they may not even realize that fact, especially if the acquaintance immigrated at a very young age.
Although Pennsylvania does not currently recognize same-sex marriage, it is extremely likely that there are same-sex couples who have traveled to other states to get married and have returned home to Pennsylvania. Though these marriages are not recognized by either the state or federal governments, there is the possibility that an upcoming Supreme Court decision could change at least the federal recognition. And this could have immigration consequences for binational same-sex couples in Pennsylvania.
For years the Obama administration has been talking about immigration reform and now that it is potentially around the corner, a considerable number of diverse immigrant groups are coming together to protest plans to slash the number of immigrant visas for family members. Joining the voices of Democrats and other immigration advocates, these immigrant groups are arguing that it is extremely important to maintain, if not increase, the number of family-based immigrant visas available.
People across Pennsylvania are making their concerns about immigration heard as they prepare for a campaign to reform the immigration system. There were approximately two dozen organizations featured at a joint press conference earlier in the month in which they explained the need for appropriate immigration reforms.
Earlier this week marked President Obama's second term in office and his inauguration speech seemed to lay out what he wanted to focus on in his next four years. What may have caught many people in Reading's attention is that Obama talked about immigration. It is clear that Obama has wanted to change immigration law in the United States, especially after his executive orders granting deferred deportation and temporary resident status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, but it is expected that one of the major initiatives that the president will tackle will be a comprehensive immigration reform.
This blog has previously talked about President Obama's new initiative that potentially creates a pathway to legal residency and the effect it has had on Pennsylvania residents. Now, President Obama has issued another immigration reform that will help U.S. citizens and their undocumented spouses stay together longer. This new aspect of family-based immigration is set to go into effect in March.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced a change in its policy under the new "national detainer guidance." In terms of the focus of who will be subject to removal, or deportation, the agency will now focus primarily upon serious criminal offenders.
Most people in York recognize that when an American marries someone from another country, the American spouse can sponsor his or her foreign spouse to immigrate to the United States. Husbands have brought wives and wives have brought husbands to this country, allowing them to bypass the visa system and shorten the amount of time they have to wait before they can naturalize as American citizens. This is a great benefit for different-sex binational couples, but it is one that has yet to be expanded to Americans in same-sex relationships with people who are not American citizens.
Being able to reunite with a family member after years away is always a special feeling and one that many immigrants have been able to experience after coming to the United States. By obtaining legal residency or citizenship, many individuals in Lancaster County and other parts of the United States have been able to use family-based immigration to bring adult children and siblings over, as well. One of the few groups that were unable to take advantage of this was the Cuban-Americans.