The breathtaking casualness of the Gang of Eight — and the media — as they deal with the exploding population of the United States was demonstrated in this morning's New York Times with this off-hand remark:
The legislation also aims to eliminate the backlog of 4.7 million immigrants who have applied to come here legally and have been languishing waiting for green cards.
This morning's Washington Post handled the issue comparably:
While trying to address the problem of illegal immigration, the Senate bill also aims to clear a backlog of more than four million foreigners around the world who have applied for family-based visas to be reunited with relatives in the United States.
Neither paper bothered to explain how you "eliminate" or "clear" a visa backlog.
There are two ways of doing so: you could deny everyone on the waiting list (or most of them) the right to come to the United States, or you could let them all in. Presumably if Congress were on the verge of taking the first step, howls of outrage would be heard and reported by these two papers.
So "clearing" the backlog must mean letting them all in. That means that in addition to creating an amnesty for 11 million people in the country illegally, we would be admitting some 4.0 to 4.7 million additional people, most of whom, presumably are not in the country. These members of extended families of earlier immigrants are mostly low-income, lightly educated people who can be expected to swell the ranks of the poor in the United States.
They are also not immediate relatives of anyone in the United States, at least in the terms of the immigration law. They are adult sons and daughters of citizens, and brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of citizens. There is nothing in the law that requires the sponsor of such relatives to swear that they have even met the people involved, so the concept of "re-uniting families" is a bit overblown. And, or course, that the families might be "re-united" in some place other than the United States is never mentioned.
But if we are expanding the legal population by 11 million or so, why not add another 4.0 or 4.7 million on the side?