Time to End to Chain Migration
We hear a lot today about the so-called DACA program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the kind of negotiations in which we're currently engaged. Hopefully, those negotiations will reach a solution that will satisfy all the parties and give certainty and legal protection to the DACA population.
We've heard a lot about border security and the wall. I want to focus on one other element of a needed, negotiated solution, and that's chain migration. Putting an end once and for all to chain migrations. Because when you give legal status to an illegal immigrant, that is a permanent change in law.
It will never be reversed.
Therefore, you can't simply accept some window dressing at the border, one year of funding for demonstration or pilot projects.
You have to have a permanent change in return for a permanent change, and an end to chain migration will be one of the most important permanent changes to U.S. immigration law in 52 years.
What is chain migration?
Well, under the current law, which dates back to 1965, if you're a citizen, you can bring any one of your relatives to this country. Not just your spouse and your unmarried minor kids, your nuclear family, but also your adult kids and their spouses and their children, and your adult brother and your adult sister, and your parents, and then their siblings and so on and so forth. That's why it's called chain migration.
Each person is a potential link in a never-ending chain.
So the vast majority of people that immigrate to our country legally every single year do so for the sole reason that they just happen to be related to somebody that's already here.
We are a nation of immigrants. We're a nation where blood ties are not supposed to dictate the path of your life, where you can fulfill your dreams. But we have an immigration system that does the exact opposite, an immigration system that favors the ties of blood, the ties of kinship, the ties of clan, the ties of tribe. What could be less American than that?
Blue-collar workers have begun to see an increase in their wages over the last year for the first time in decades, and that's in no small part because of the administration's efforts to get immigration under control, but it's not enough to stop there.
The real question is, who should our immigration system work for? It should work for the American people, the American worker. It should be crafted for their benefit, not the benefit of foreigners. We should have an immigration system that fulfills the needs of our economy, that focuses on jobs and wages for American citizens here, whether your parents came over on the Mayflower or whether you just took the oath of citizenship last week. It's not some radical position.
Liberal Democrats used to believe in that.
Now, I understand in this debate, most of the attention is focused on that population of about 690,000 illegal immigrants who came here through no fault of their own as young children 15, 20, 30 years ago. I think the concern for them is very understandable. If we're going to give them legal status, we have to recognize inevitably as an operation of logic there are two negative consequences that flow from that. You can say you don't mind them but you can't say they don't exist.
President Trump has said, as I've noted, that he wants to protect the DACA population. But at the same time, he has said repeatedly we must build a wall and secure our border and end chain migration. I agree that we have to build a wall on our border. I have to say it's a little amusing to see how our Democratic colleagues have changed their tune on this point.
Although I want to point out that while the president's proposal would cost $18 billion, it's over ten years so $1.8 billion a year. The senator from Illinois has proposed a naked amnesty bill that would cost $26 billion over ten years.
That's right: $18 billion is too much to secure our southern border, to build a wall and to provide more agents, and buy more technology. But $26 billion to provide more welfare for illegal immigrants after they get amnesty is a-okay. The time has come to end this foolish and unwise policy. Not a single advanced, industrialized nation has such a lax immigration policy when it comes to immigrant families as we do. Not Canada.
Not the United Kingdom.
Not France. Not Germany.
Not New Zealand. Not Japan.
If we're actually going to fix the problem, if we're going to do right by the American worker, if we're going to promote the American Dream and American ideals, then it's time for these mindless family preferences and chain migration to come to an end.
From U.S. Senator Tom Cotton