The anti-immigration group Numbers USA announced yesterday that it is launching a “national TV ad campaign,” attempting to stop efforts to include solutions for Dreamers in the year-end spending bill by framing any “amnesty” as an opportunity for “chain migration,” the anti-immigration movement’s term for policies that allow immediate families to stay together.
“Our Chain Migration system operates basically as if you invite one person to be a guest in your house and then tell that guest that he/she is in charge of all future guests—to YOUR house,” Numbers USA president Roy Beck wrote in announcing the ad campaign.
“When one person is given amnesty, Congress allows a chain of migration to begin,” the ad warns, as a chalkboard fills up with a family tree of one new U.S. citizen’s extended family:
Although the ad does not mention DACA or Dreamers by name, Numbers USA made clear that it is releasing the ad as “Congress debates yet another amnesty.”
In reality, what groups like Numbers USA—and President Trump—call “chain migration” is simply an immigration system that prioritize keeping families together. U.S. citizens can apply for visas for their spouses, parents and minor children, and for adult children and siblings until the system reaches an annual numerical cap. Legal permanent residents can apply to bring spouses and children, with an annual numerical cap. That’s it. The State Department specifies that “grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration.” As the Huffington Post pointed out today, Trump’s own family has benefited from family reunification policies.
The anti-immigration movement has renewed its attacks on “chain migration” since the attempted bombing in the New York Subway this week, whose alleged perpetrator reportedly came to the U.S. on a family visa.