Chain migration, the process immigrants use to gain legal permanent residency (LPR)– Green Card status– or citizenship in the U.S. and then sponsor relatives in their native county for entry, faces scrutiny. With current immigration policy, in other words, the admittance of one immigrant sets off a kind of chain reaction that swells immigrant numbers.
Advocates of chain migration policies take the position that the policy promotes family unity. Those opposed say it promotes uncontrollable rates of immigration.
The issue gains particular importance now as immigration reform holds a central position in President Trump’s agenda. And immigration reform gains prominence on the whole as with events like the recent New York City attack carried out by an immigrant in the country through his selection in the diversity visa program.
Chain migration took on additional weight after the president announced the end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the president consistently discusses the need to continue offering protections to DACA-status immigrants, he’s made clear that reform legislation must create policies that reign in immigration flows into the country. With this perspective, legislation like the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which provides DACA beneficiaries a path to citizenship, will likely never come to pass.
“CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” President Trump tweeted in September.
“The problem with any amnesty is that it serves as a magnet for new illegal immigrants, and its recipients could become the next link in the chain of migration if granted legal status or especially citizenship,” reads an editorial in the conservative National Review.
President Trump supports the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, a kind of merit-based legislation, introduced over the summer by GOP senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. RAISE Act legislation proposes to cut legal immigration by half and severs adult children and siblings of immigrants from the chain.