A plan to give a pathway to United States citizenship to young illegal aliens living in the U.S. would automatically come with a potentially unprecedented chain migration of upwards of 10 million foreign nationals, under current legal U.S. immigration law.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary Michael Dougherty admitted in a Senate hearing that President Trump’s administration supports giving amnesty to potentially 3.3 million young illegal aliens, 800,000 of whom are currently shielded by the Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Under a rational bill these individuals would be able to become lawful permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship,” Dougherty said in response to whether the Trump administration supports amnesty for illegal aliens.
The “rational bill” Dougherty refers to in his response could be Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) DREAM Act, which 3.3 million illegal aliens would be eligible for, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The Migration Policy Institute estimates that under the DREAM Act, only 1.5 million illegal aliens of the 3.3 million eligible would be placed on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
Under the current legal U.S. immigration system, newly naturalized U.S. citizens are able to sponsor their foreign relatives and bring them to the U.S.
According to Princeton University researchers Stacie Carr and Marta Tienda, the average number of family members brought to the U.S. by newly naturalized Mexican immigrants stands at roughly six. Therefore, should all 1.5 million amnestied illegal aliens bring six relatives each to the U.S., that would constitute a total chain migration of nine million new foreign nationals entering the U.S.
If the number of amnestied illegal aliens who gain a pathway to citizenship under an immigration deal were to rise to the full 3.3 million who would be eligible for DREAM Act amnesty, and if each brought in three to six foreign family members, the chain migration flow could range from 9.9 million to 19.8 million foreign nationals coming to the U.S.
Trump has previously stated that an amnesty deal for DACA illegal aliens would have to include a ban on chain migration in order to stop surges of legal immigration to the U.S., though it remains unclear how the administration would enact such a plan without pushing forward and signing Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) RAISE Act, which fully ends all family-based chain migration.