EDITOR'S NOTE: Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) introduced the Nuclear Family Priority Act, H.R. 604, last week that would end the practice of chain migration and have the single biggest impact on reducing overall legal immigration numbers. The following is a letter of endorsement written by NumbersUSA President Roy Beck.
On behalf of the 3 million citizens in the NumbersUSA activist network, I express our strongest support for the Nuclear Family Priority Act. This legislation you are sponsoring sits at the top of NumbersUSA’s legislative priorities.
By ending “chain migration,” this bill would benefit most Americans and immigrants alike, but especially those with low wages or who are currently unable to find a full-time job. Because chain migration is ultimately responsible for around half of all immigration, the elimination of it would greatly reduce the flow of foreign labor into our country's already huge surplus of labor, immediately providing some relief to our country's most vulnerable members.
Passing this legislation into law would be one of the most effective ways for this Congress to stop the rise in the number of Americans who are entirely out of the labor market and to stop the decline of real wages that has been afflicting all but the most educated of Americans.
The Nuclear Family Priority Act is a mainstream, bi-partisan approach to immigration issues. It would fulfill a key recommendation of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by civil rights icon Barbara Jordan. That commission concluded that for our immigration policies to promote the economic well-being of the citizens of this country, Congress would need to eliminate chain migration, reduce overall immigration and prioritize nuclear families.
Government employment and wage statistics show that the people most hurt by our loose labor markets are Black and Hispanic Americans, young adults, the disabled, military veterans and those over age 50 who have lost jobs and are trying to once again become productive wage earners. These are the people who would be most helped by passage of your bill, Congressman Hice.
The Nuclear Family Priority Act would end “chain migration” by eliminating several of the family preference visa classes that allow immigrants to send for relatives other than their nuclear family of spouse and minor children, and that allow each of those adult relatives or in-laws to send for their relatives, and so forth, creating what can be endless chains of migration. While there is nothing intrinsically negative about the family members who are added through these categories, the system is set up in such a way that the admission of a single immigrant can set up chains of migration of dozens of distant relatives for decades, with none of them admitted on the basis of a skill needed by this country or of a special humanitarian need of their own.
These chain-migration categories are the primary reason why immigration has risen from around 250,000 a year in the 1950s and 1960s to more than a million a year since 1990, constantly adding job-seeking workers to compete with Americans in nearly every occupation at every education level.
In this modern age of internet, cell phones and instant visual communication, as well as safe and reasonably priced travel, immigrants who choose to leave their families and countries to move to the United States do not need their adult relatives to follow them in order to remain connected. In the special circumstance of immigrants wanting to care for their parents in this country, your bill generously makes parents eligible for renewable visitor visas, provided the parent's sponsoring son or daughter can prove that he or she can financially support their parents and provide their health insurance coverage.
Ending chain migration would put the priority where it should be for family-based immigration -- on reuniting spouses and minor children for both naturalized citizens and lawful permanent residents and on expeditiously processing visas for overseas marriages and adoptions by U.S. citizens.
NumbersUSA applauds your leadership on this critical issue and stands eager to assist you in advancing the Nuclear Family Priority Act. No single bill would have as profound effect on improving our immigration system and restoring common sense in this area.
ROY BECK is President & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 11:00am EST