Families look for relief from immigration bill

By ERICA WERNER | February 19, 2013 | 3:30 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators writing an immigration overhaul bill are scrutinizing the nation's system of family-based immigration, and that could mean fewer green cards for relatives who could eventually seek U.S. citizenship.

The U.S. is unusual among industrialized nations in that most legal permanent immigrants to the country come here because they're related to American citizens or permanent residents. Other countries put more of a focus on prospective immigrants who have work skills or employment prospects, and some lawmakers say the U.S. should move in that direction.

Although nothing has been decided, that could mean fewer green cards, which are awarded to legal permanent residents, in the future, especially for siblings who aren't part of an immigrant's nuclear family.