How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Immigrant visa backlogs: How will reform plans address long waits?

Source: Visa Bulletin for February 2013, U.S. Department of State

Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed petitions.

The immigration reform plans President Obama and the U.S. Senate proposed this week would change the way this country legally admits immigrants and workers. And that means tackling the problem of visa backlogs.

The process for entering the United States via the family-sponsored visa category is onerous to applicants - especially to would-be immigrants from certain countries. In the family-sponsored category, the Philippines consistently tops the list for the nation in which immigrants sponsored by siblings and other relatives must wait longest to enter the United States. It's not unusual for them to wait two decades or more.

Mexico runs a close second. While the waits aren't quite as bad for immigrants from China and India, they are still excruciatingly long. Same goes for other hopeful immigrants, particularly those from Asian countries; of the top eight nations with the most people on waiting lists to enter the U.S., six of these are Asian countries.

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