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Family immigration and merit immigration basics

Talk of changes in immigration policy is causing some individuals to review the various ways that immigrants arrive in the United States. The U.S. government seems to be moving away from family immigration toward a merit-based system. Both types of immigration have their place in U.S. policy, and individuals from New York may wish to be informed on the basics of each. 

A recent news story provides more details. Family immigration is the policy that allows for a person who has settled in the United States to sponsor a family member to become a citizen. Spouses and children do not need to wait for a visa number; the family member simply files a petition on their behalf. The process for siblings and other family members can take much longer. 

A merit-based system would require that the individual be able to demonstrate special ability or show that the person is able to invest in the United States before becoming a citizen. High-paying job offers, education, achievements and English language ability factor into a points system that determines a person's qualification for citizenship. This method is utilized in other countries, including Canada. 

Each type of immigration has its pros and cons. Advocates claim that family immigration adheres to the traditional American respect for family. A merit-based system could potentially have a greater impact on building the economy. Individuals who have come to New York to resettle in the United States may wish to contact an attorney to explore their options for naturalization.

Source:, "Merit-based Versus Family-based Immigration Explained", Aline Barros, Accessed on Oct. 25, 2017

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