Many lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are currently living in the United States, separated from their families.
These are mostly young families — a husband or wife, separated from their spouse and young child. They are waiting for their I-130 petitions (petition for relative) to be approved. The current waiting time is 5 years.
While they wait, their spouse and child are not allowed to enter the U.S., even for a brief visit. The permanent resident, on the other hand, must reside predominantly in the U.S., otherwise they lose their permanent residency status.
Immigration law is splitting them.
Family separation is a serious issue. It causes signficant emotional turmoil and can have long-lasting and devastating effects.
Lawful Permanent Residents are denied playing an active role in raising their own children. For no fault of their own, children and parents miss priceless moments that are witnessed in normal family environments every day. Even worse, for those families who cannot afford frequent travel, a child grows up not knowing one of his/her parents. Five years is an incredibly long time during childhood.
LPRs must live separated from their husband or wife, being forced into a predicament that is widely recognized as unpleasant and challenging — a long-distance relationship. This can cause breakups of what would otherwise be normal happy families.
Single LPRs are also affected. Those who are ready to marry and start a family often have difficulty in finding an acceptable life partner. Their immigrant status, in essence, prevents them from marrying a loved one from their own country and living in the U.S. The senseless part is that if they had married prior to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident, they would have avoided family separation altogether.