President Trump’s proposal to slash family-based immigration could impact locals

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018, 7:08 PM EST

President Donald Trump is supporting citizenship for Dreamers, but at the same time he's also slashing family-based immigration.

  • President Trump poised to cut back family reunification
  • Huge backlog of immigration petitions filed
  • Senators planning to introduce bipartisan immigration deal

The president's latest immigration memo proposes cutting back on the family reunification program.

Right now, those with legal status in this country can sponsor immediate relatives like a spouse, children regardless of their age, siblings and parents. Under President Trump's proposal, only spouses and children under 21 years of age can be claimed.

Ena Taylor from Jamaica, a housekeeper at a hotel along I-Drive, recently filed for family reunification. She’s hoping to bring her son to the United States. All she wants is to have her son by her side.

"If you're a family person, that shouldn't be a problem,” Taylor said. “And it's not like I am here doing drugs or those things … I am working, and I pay my taxes."

The plan also talks about eliminating the visa lottery program, which currently offers 5,000 visas to low admission countries, putting up a border wall system and giving DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship.

"Remember, family immigration is legal immigration. Family immigration is U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents legally filing to be unified with their family,” said Gail Seeram, a long-time immigration attorney in Orlando. “Family unification is a key American value and a key American concept. Chain migration in no way means that people are entering this country illegally."

Since there are more immigration petitions filed than visas available, there is a huge backlog. Taylor already has to wait 12 years to be reunited with her son, but as Taylor gets closer to retirement and older in age, she worries matters could get worse.

"People who are here working hard need to help their family … (In my case) it’s not really family, but my son,” Taylor said, “My son, you know? I need him with me. I need him to be here."

Senators John McCain and Chris Coons are planning to introduce their bipartisan immigration legislation on Monday.