The Introduction of Reuniting Families Act
Ms. HIRONO. Madam Speaker, aloha! I rise today in support of the Reuniting Families Act, a bill introduced by Congressman Michael Honda. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important bill.
There are currently 5.8 million people in the family immigration backlog waiting unconscionable periods of time to reunite with their family members. The Reunifying Families Act takes important steps toward fixing our broken family immigration system by reducing the waiting times for legal immigrants.
One important piece of Mr. Honda's bill is the inclusion of the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act (H.R. 2412), a bill I have introduced for the past two congressional sessions. My bill would exempt the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans from the cap on immigration numbers that have resulted in waiting periods for up to two decades for immigrant visas to the United States.
I have listened to many heartbreaking stories of our Filipino veterans, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, waiting patiently with the hope that one day that their children will be able to come to the United States to care for them. I am glad that the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act is a part of the Reuniting Families Act.
The family bond is precious and it is the bedrock of society. Any policy that would keep family members apart for decades at a time, husband from wife, mother from child, is not morally defensible. The real solution is to reward immigrants for following the law, not punish them with unreasonably long separations.
I look forward to working with my colleagues by providing for the reunification of all our families.