Roy Beck's picture


  by  Roy Beck

I hope you are as excited and ready as we are to take advantage of some very special opportunities in 2017 to reduce immigration flows by millions over the next decade.

NumbersUSA is committed to apply the grassroots pressure necessary to make sure our new President lives up to his promises . . .

  • to reduce the flow of illegal border crossers and visa overstays,
  • and to convince Congress to reduce annual legal immigration.

We have just begun what we believe will be an enormous, lengthy, and expensive campaign to educate politicians and citizens about the one immigration category above all others that must be eliminated. I'm talking about CHAIN MIGRATION.

Our polling for years has found that when Americans learn about the extended-family Chain Migration system, they overwhelmingly oppose it. Our job is to focus enough national public attention on this policy to force it to the top of the agenda here in Washington. Conditions for success are more favorable than at any time in our 20 years as an organization.


Chain Migration starts with what we call an "Original Immigrant." This is a foreign citizen chosen by our government to be admitted on the basis of what he/she is supposed to offer in our national interest.

The Original Immigrant is allowed to bring in his/her nuclear family of a spouse and minor children. We support that. But then the chain begins. And we don't support that.

Every other immigrant who comes in the chain is chosen by immigrants -- not by our own government!

Every other chain immigrant comes REGARDLESS of their skills or lack of skills . . . REGARDLESS of how they might affect the job opportunities or wages of Americans competing in the same job categories . . . REGARDLESS of how they might drive booming U.S. population growth that government data show is the primary cause of the destruction of natural habitat and farmland in our country each year.


(The red numbers show the total allowed in the category during the most recent year of record.)

Both the Original Immigrant and spouse, once they are U.S. citizens, get to petition for all their brothers and sisters. (26,000)

And those brothers and sisters can bring in their spouses. (17,000) . . and their minor children. (29,000)

That Original Immigrant can also petition for married and unmarried adult sons and daughters. (33,000) . . . and they can bring in their spouses and minor children. (18,000)

The Original Immigrant and spouse also get to bring in their parents (regardless of how young or old), and all of the spouses of their adult children, brothers and sisters can bring in their parents. (116,000)


Most chains never stop because every one of those spouses mentioned in the bullets above is able to start chains in their own families, petitioning for their own brothers, sisters and parents, all of whom can bring their spouses who can then start chains in yet more new families.

At that point, the people entering in the siblings, children and parents categories are the Original Immigrant's [b][highlight]aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and an incredibly diverse array of in-laws.

Chain Migration multiplies the effects of every single decision to admit an immigrant. For example, every single refugee from every new place begins new chains of migration that can begin to empty out villages and city neighborhoods that never before produced streams of migrants to America.

Fortunately, there is some form of cap on several of the categories. Otherwise, the more than a million legal immigrants every year would have risen to many millions annually. But it was the creation of Chain Migration categories in the 1950s and the extension of Chain Migration into all the poor countries of the world in 1965 that has been largely responsible for annual legal immigration quadrupling to the million or more per year since 1990.


The Original Immigrant can make a decision to leave his/her family to move to America. But Chain Migration allows the extended family to follow so that around a quarter of a million lifetime work permits are given to foreign citizens each year through Chain Migration for NO PURPOSE IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST.

All of them put new demands on the infrastructures of this country. (And it is the chain immigrants and their children who drive a whole other uncapped category of overseas marriages, which brings in hundreds of thousands of more immigrants.)

Eliminating chain categories would not mean immigrants wouldn't be able to see their parents, siblings and extended family. But they would see them the way most of us Americans see our own extended families -- through visits. If Congress will also pass mandatory E-Verify so visitors can no longer easily take U.S. jobs illegally, the U.S. could probably offer generous visitor visas that allow Original Immigrants to care for their parents and host other relatives for lengthy periods. But these visitors could never take a job, obtain a U.S. passport or citizenship, be able to vote, invite other foreign guests, or gain government services.


Millions of people around the world can see how they are linked through chains to extended family members already in the United States.

Some of them are so far down the chain that they are unlikely to ever get a chance to come because of category caps), but they feel entitled because of those chains. Many of them decide to come to the U.S. and overstay their visa under the self-justification that they are entitled to immigrate and are just waiting for the paperwork to come available.

From the very beginning of NumbersUSA 20 years ago this month, our top legislative priority has been to end the chain migration categories and start reducing the overall numbers of legal immigrants entering the United States each year.

Instead, we have had to spend most of our energies stopping one gigantic bill after another that would have EXPANDED legal immigration. Fortunately, with the help of millions of citizens who have worked with our mobilization efforts, we have defeated every one of those expansions. But the Chain Migration continues. Whether or not you are pleased with the choice of the American people to be our next President, they have elected somebody who promised to put our nation's immigration system on a diet.

Time to reduce in 2017!

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Jan 6th 2017 @ 4:35pm EST

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