The wait to get into the United States with a visa can be as long as 20 years, reports NPR. Four out of the five countries with the largest visa backlog are Asian countries.
That’s because the U.S. government places an annual cap for visas from every country regardless of size and demand. Right now demand is high from Asia as Asians now make up the largest share of immigration to the U.S. Most people who qualify for a visa are sponsored by a family member or employer.
President Obama in his new immigration reform plan vowed to ease the backlog.
“If you are a citizen, you shouldn’t have to wait years before your family is able to join you in America,” he said.
“One of the things that both the Senate and the president dealt with was the focus on family reunifications,” said Bethany Li, a lawyer with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “I think they’ll be the first to tell you that immigration reform doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t include their families.”