Between 1776-1965, annual immigration averaged 250,000 people per year. Congress changed the law in 1965 and sent the numbers skyrocketing.
The result of chain migration is tens of millions of people in the world who tend to think they are in line. Instead of waiting, they come illegally.
Chain migration is responsible for almost all long-term population growth since 1972 (when native-born Americans started having children at replacement levels).
Politicians who push for increasing legal immigration levels will often make reference to the "Broken Immigration System". By fixing the "broken system" what they really want is to dismantle enforcement and make it easier for employers to access cheap, foreign labor. But they often ignore the real broken pieces within our immigration system that drive more illegal immigration and harm national security and public safety.
While much of the discussion of illegal immigration has been over border security, visa overstay is just as much part of the problem. Overstayers fall in three different categories: those who were issued visas, those who came from countries that have been granted participation in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and those who entered from Mexico or Canada with Border Crossing Cards (BCCs).
Under federal law, illegal presence in the United States is punishable by removal and a 3-year bar from re-entry for aliens illegally present for longer than 180 days and less than 1 year, or a 10-year bar from re-entry for aliens illegally present for longer than 1 year. Illegal aliens who had been previously removed, but are found illegally present again are permanently inadmissible.
The Diversity Visa Program, often referred to as the “Visa Lottery” was established in 1990. Under this program, 55,000 visas are allocated annually via a random process to natives of countries that have relatively low rates of immigration to the United States. In 1997, 5,000 of these visas were reserved for individuals who qualified for legal permanent resident status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. Those 5,000 visas are not granted under a lottery process.
Birthright Citizenship is the practice of offering automatic citizenship to children born in the United States. Under current federal law, all children born in the U.S. receive automatic citizenship, but this practice had created a magnet for foreign nationals who want their children to have citizenship in the United States.
A pragmatic look at foreign worker policy
The effect of legal immigration on the United States is in proportion to its volume and composition.
Ideally, who and how many immigrants we admit would be a reflection of informed public will, legislated with deliberation and consistently enforced. The reality, however, is quite different. Our immigration system is a hodge-podge of laws, executive orders and administrative regulations that lack intention, oversight and a clear purpose as to the stated outcome.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1996 added the 287(g) provision that allows the Department of Homeland Security to enter into contracts with state and local law enforcement agencies. The provision provides training for local officers who will help enforce immigration law under the supervision of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As of August 2008, there were 63 local municipalities that were part of the 287(g) program.
The Department of Homeland Security reported in December that they reached their target of 18,000 border patrol agents protecting the land and sea borders of the United States, most of who are stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border. The border patrol uses a variety of tools to deter and apprehend smugglers and potential illegal immigrants, including using dune buggies to combat drug smuggling on the California-Baja California border, mounted patrols to combat human smugglers, and helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices to find illegal alien convoys at night.