Rabia Chaudry, a prominent immigration attorney, well-known voice in the national security field, and a central figure to the first season of the “Serial” podcast, live-tweeted President Trump’s State of the Union address last week. When the president discussed immigration, he incorrectly stated the current immigration system makes it possible for an immigrant to bring in an “unlimited number of distant relatives.”
In response to that inaccurate line, Chaudry tweeted what the law actually states. As she explained it, U.S. citizens can sponsor children, spouses, parents and siblings, but not distant relatives such as grandparents, cousins, aunts, or uncles.
Not surprisingly, even though Chaudry was correct, she got replies from several people on Twitter who told her she was misinformed. One such user, who goes by the handle FullMetalBitch3, stated that chain migration — a phrase some politicians use to describe family-based immigration — has allowed for the “sponsorship of in-laws, cousins, etc.”
Chaudry kept her reply short and sweet, telling the user that she's an immigrant lawyer by trade.
While other Twitter users loved the pointed retort, Chaudry tells Upworthy she didn’t respond to FullMetalBitch3 to earn likes and followers. “While I don't believe in arguing with bots, there are people out there who are watching quietly, not sure about the truth. It's important to keep putting the truth out there for them,” she explained. “From science to democracy to media to intel, this administration is engaged in an onslaught to confuse people, create a fog of war that destroys the confidence of citizens in anything and everything.”
For the record, the New York Times states that American green card holders can sponsor their spouses and unmarried children for permanent residence while, United States citizens can also petition for residence for their parents, siblings and married adult children, but even with those exceptions in place it can still take decades to obtain a visa.
According to the publication, there is a long wait for visas because of numerical limits for family-based immigration each year. Would-be immigrants then must apply for a green card, which can take months to decades depending on the country of origin, a sponsor’s immigration status, and the applicant’s relationship to their sponsor.
As the Times notes, as of this month “most immigrants sponsored by their United States-citizen siblings could begin to apply for a green card if their priority date was before June 22, 2004, a waiting period of 13.5 years.”
So, despite how easy some think it is for immigrants (and their relatives) to become U.S. citizens, the reality is immigrants — even those who are better educated than native-born citizens — must go through a grueling and arduous process in order to obtain citizenship.
A Plus reached out to Rabia Chaudry for comment.