Chain migration and family reunification

by Fred Elbel

Chain migration involves family unification that extends beyond an immigrant's immediate family. It is one of the predominant factors that has caused immigration numbers to explode in recent decades.

US immigration policy through the 1950s extended nuclear family reunification only to spouses and minor children of immigrants. In 1965, Congress changed immigration law to allow immigrants to be able to send for adult children, siblings, and parents in their country of origin. This expanding chain of immigration has resulted in a never-ending stream of millions upon millions of immigrants coming to America.

Indeed, current chain migration policy provides an incentive for legal relatives of immigrants in the US to overstay their visas once invited here for reunification purposes. The promise of amnesty for these new illegal aliens then acts as yet another incentive for them remain in the US.

As of 2008, only 11.2 percent of legal immigrants initiate their own immigration. The rest are nominated by US residents under chain migration, or are nominated by US employers looking for low skilled labor. 

Chain migration is purportedly for the purpose of family reunification. Yet those who migrated to America voluntarily and deliberately left their family behind.

Legal immigrants and illegal aliens who wish to reunite with their extended families are free to return to their home countries at any time to do so. Those who immigrate to America have no implicit right to bring along dozens - and ultimately hundreds - of relatives. America has a right and an implicit obligation to future generations of Americans to manage our immigration policy for the best interests of Americans, not foreign job seekers.