Chain Migration Under Current U.S. Law:
The Potential Impact of a Single Employment-Based Immigrant
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
Sp S3
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
+Family
+Family
+Family
+Family
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
Sp S
S5 P
Sp S
S5 P
Sp S
S5 P
Sp S
S5 P
+Family
+Family
+Family
+Family
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
Sp S
S4 P
Sp S
S4 P
Sp S
S4 P
Sp S
S4 P
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
+Family
+Family
+Family
+Family
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
Sp S
S3 P
Sp S
S3 P
Sp S
S3 P
Sp S
S3 P
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
+Family
+Family
+Family
+Family
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
Sp S
S2 P
Sp S
S2 P
Sp S
S2 P
Sp S
S2 P
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
+ Family
+ Family
+ Family
+ Family
Sp S
S1 P
Sp S
S1 P
Sp S
S1 P
Sp S
S1 P
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
P2
P1
P2
P1
P2
P1
P1
P2
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C3 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C1 S4
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
P arent1
P arent2
P arent1
P arent2
P1 Sp
P2 Sp
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
Sp S1
Sp S2
Sp S3
Sp S4
S1 Sp
S2 Sp
S3 Sp
S4 Sp
S ibling1 W
S ibling2 W
S ibling3 W
S ibling4 W
2014
W orker
Sp ouse
2014
S ibling1 Sp
S ibling2 Sp
S ibling3 Sp
S ibling4 Sp
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C3 S4
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C2 S1
C1 S2
C3 S2
C2 S3
C1 S4
C3 S4
C hild1
C hild2
Ch ild3
C1 S1
C3 S1
C2 S2
C1 S3
C3 S3
C2 S4
Source: NumbersUSA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current U.S. immigration law sets out several categories of relatives a citizen
or Lawful
Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States may petition to bring
here. Some of
these
KEY:
are numerically capped; others are unlimited. The categories are:
1. Immediate Relatives --the spouse, minor children, and parents of adult U.S. citizens;
no numerical limit.
Principal Immigrant W orker with
Employment‐ Based Visa
S_ W
S ibling of Naturalized Principal W orker
2. Family‐Preference Categories :
Sp W
Sp ouse of Principal Immigrant W orker
S_ Sp
S ibling of Naturalized Sp ouse
Family 1 st Preference --Unmarried, adult children of U.S. citizens; capped at 23,400.
Family 2A Preference --Spouses and minor children of LPRs; capped at 114,000, with
a floor of 87, 934.
C_ W
Minor C hild of Principal Immigrant W orker
S_ P
S ibling of P arent
Family 2B Preference --Unmarried, adult children of LPRs; capped at 26,266.
P arents of Naturalized Principal W orker
Sp S_
P1-2 W
Sp ouse of S ibling
Family 3 rd Preference --Adult, married children of U.S. citizens, plus their spouses
and minor children; capped
at 23,400.
P1-2 Sp
P arents of Naturalized Sp ouse
C_ S_
C hild of S ibling
Family 4 th Preference --Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, plus their spouses and minor
children; capped at 65,000. 1
The chart reflects the following assumptions, all of which are provided for under current U.S. immigration law:
One worker (W) is granted an Employment ‐Based (EB) immigrant visa in
2008;
This worker hails from a developing country with a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3.0 children per woman; 2
The worker brings a spouse and three children to the United States with him (the spouse and children would be issued EB visas, as well, since they are accompanying the
worker);
The worker and his spouse and children naturalize in 2014 (they become eligible in 2013, but one year is added to account for the time it takes to process their applications) and
the worker and spouse petition for their parents and siblings;
The extended families of both the worker and his spouse are all alive and reflect the average TFR of the developing world at the relevant time (i.e., during their child‐bearing
years); and
It takes one year for the extended family members to be approved and granted immigrant visas (it could take significantly longer than one year depending on the country from
which they are coming due to visa backlogs resulting from the caps on the family‐based immigrant categories and the per‐country limit on most family‐
and employment‐
preference visas, which, under current law is about 26,000 visas
annually for independent countries).
The chart shows what happens when the worker and his spouse naturalize and bring in their parents and siblings, along with the siblings' spouses and minor children. Then, the
parents and the spouses of the siblings naturalize after five years of LPR status and bring in their own parents and siblings, along with the siblings' spouses and children. It is this
endless "chain migration" of adult relatives and in‐laws
that drives annual, legal immigration levels higher every year and creates pressure to increase category caps because of
ever‐growing waiting lists. The
long waiting lists, in turn, fuel illegal immigration, as people begin to develop a sense of
entitlement to move
to the United States.
Based on the above assumptions, the approval of an employer's petition to import a single permanent foreign worker could result in the permanent immigration to the United States
of 273 individuals, not including the 100 or so cousins of the worker and his spouse (the children of the siblings of their parents) who are represented in the chart only as "+ family"
due to space limitations.
1 The family‐ preference immigration categories are all over‐ subscribed. Mexicans and Filipinos must wait significantly longer than other visa applicants due to higher than average application rates for each category. Mainland Chinese
and Indians have longer than average waiting times for sibling visas.
2 The Total Fertility Rate is the average number of children each woman will have in her lifetime. Examples of sending countries with a TFR of 2.8‐ 3.2 include: India, the Philippines, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela,
Bangladesh, and Malaysia. In much of the developing world, the TFR is significantly higher than three children per woman. According to the United Nations Population Division, the TFR in "less developed countries," where about
5.3 billion people live, was 2.9 in mid‐ 2005. In "least developed countries," where another 800 million people live, the TFR was 5.0 in mid‐ 2005.
U
SA Education and Research Foundation
February 14, 2007
W
Numbers