One of the Trump administration’s main lines of attack against immigration has been against what they are referring to as “chain migration” — when citizens or legal permanent residents petition their family members to join them in the United States as permanent residents (and eventually, as citizens in their own right).
Currently, citizens can apply for immediate family members (spouse, parent, unmarried child under 21). Different categories, “family preference,” includes specific family members of citizens (unmarried children over 21, married children and siblings) and family members of permanent residents (spouse, unmarried child under 21 and unmarried child over 21). We have a whole post on the process of petitioning a family member here.
One of the new proposals from the administration has been to become more restrictive of the categories of family members eligible for the petition. The administration has said it wants to only allow citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse and minor children, and eliminate other provisions for bringing adult children, siblings, and parents to the United States.
These changes are outlined in a bill known as Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act) or S. 354, and this bill would drastically affect the rights of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to be reunited with their families.
The RAISE Act is one of the things being discussed right now with the broader conversations about immigration, the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and funding for a border wall.
From a practical perspective, because it is very hard to know what will be happening with immigration even as soon as next week, the best thing to do is to file these applications as soon as possible and hope that they get processed before any changes are passed.