Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) used the term “chain” migration in a White House immigration meeting, despite now denouncing President Trump’s use of the term, which is used to describe the process where newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S. with them.
Durbin told the media on Friday that he reprimanded Trump for using the term “chain migration” in immigration negotiations, claiming it was associated with racism, despite the Illinois senator just this week also using the term.
Durbin said in an interview:
That was the nature of this conversation. When it came to the issue of, quote, “chain migration,” I said to the president, do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains and when you talk about chain migration, it hurts them personally. [Emphasis added]
Durbin, though, just days ago, used the exact term in a meeting at the White House where he sat next to Trump to negotiate the terms of an immigration deal.
Durbin said during the White House meeting:
You said at the outset that we need to phase this. I think the first phase is what Chuck and Steny and I have mentioned, and others as well: We have a deadline looming and a lot of lives hanging. We can agree on some very fundamental and important things together on border security, on chain, on the future of diversity visas. Comprehensive, though, I worked on it for six months with Michael Bennet, and a number of — Bob Menendez, and Schumer, and McCain, and Jeff Flake — and it took us six months to put it together. We don’t have six months for the DACA bill. [Emphasis added]
Chain migration accurately describes the process by which one newly arrived immigrant to the U.S. has been able to create a never-ending chain of immigration, as foreign relatives sponsor one another to come to the country in a number of relative visa categories.
According to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data, about 9.3 million foreign nationals have come to the U.S. as chain migrants between 2005 and 2016. In that same time period, a total of 13.06 million foreign nationals have entered the U.S. through the legal immigration system, as every seven out of ten new arrivals come to the country for nothing other than family reunification.
This makes chain migration the largest driver of immigration to the U.S. — making up more than 70 percent — with every two new immigrants bringing seven foreign relatives with them.
As Breitbart News reported, five years of chain migration to the U.S. adds more people to the country than one year of American births.
The number of extended-family foreign nationals who have resettled in the U.S. in the last decade is greater than the total combined population of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Cleveland, the White House has noted in a new ad campaign that seeks to explain and end chain migration.
A decade of immigration to the United States where new immigrants can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives with them has exceeded two years of all American births.
Trump has repeatedly called for ending chain migration and replacing it with a legal immigration system that brings immigrants to the U.S. in lower levels and based on their merit, English proficiency skills, and ability to readily assimilate to American culture.