The Loaded Use of the Term 'Family Reunification'

By David North on February 11, 2021

We frequently see the term "family reunification" in the immigration policy debate.

Family unity, like apple pie and motherhood, is a warm and fuzzy notion under normal circumstances, and who can be opposed?

But the concept of the family being in one place while the kids are young, a noncontroversial notion, is not what the Open Borders types have in mind. That can occur in the homeland, in this country, or in some third country. What the advocates are thinking about is much narrower; family re-unification means, but they do not quite say, that the family, no matter what individual members may have done:

  • Should all be in the United States;
  • In legal status; and
  • For illegal entrants, right now.

The never-discussed hidden implication is that if part of the family is in the U.S., legally or illegally, then the rest of the family should be able to join them, regardless of the immigration law, or the impact of this additional migration on the broader community.

It is interesting that in roughly similar situations, few talk about family reunification when:

  • Daddy is at war;
  • He is in prison; or
  • Junior is away at college.

The concept of family plays an all-too-important role in both legal and illegal immigration.

In 2019, for example, among the just over a million legal immigrants admitted, 710,000 (69 percent) of them were clearly in one of the major relative categories, and some of the remaining 31 percent were also relatives of crime victims, or of previous rounds of refugees or asylees. No other major immigrant-receiving nation tilts its admissions in this way.

But one thing can be said about many of these legal immigrants: Those in the non-immediate-relative category have sometimes been waiting for admission for a decade, or several.

That cannot be said of those who have arrived illegally. The advocates want them admitted (and/or legalized) immediately.