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  1. Make the compromise: Ending chain migration is a small price to legalize Dreamers. By Nolan Rappaport

    © Getty

    The most controversial of the four pillars in President Donald Trump’s "Framework on Immigration Reform & Border Security" is his demand for an end to chain migration.

    It would be a shame if Trump’s proposal, which offers legalization for 1.8 million Dreamers, is rejected to maintain a practice that was originally established to ensure that immigrants would continue to come mainly from white, European countries.

    “Chain migration,” is a legitimate sociological term that has been used for more than 60 years. The Routledge Handbook of Migration and Language(2017) defines it as:

    “A process where relatives who have previously migrated to a new country sponsor family to migrate to the same country. It entails a tendency by foreigners from a certain city or region to migrate to the same areas as others from their city or region.”

    Trump would make an exception for the spouses and children of American citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). They are part of the citizen or LPR’s nuclear family.

    The history of chain migration.

    The 1924 Johnson-Reed Act established a quota system based on national origins. It reserved about 70 percent of the visas for immigrants from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany.

    In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson supported a bill that would replace the national origins quota system with a preference system that would allocate 50 percent of the immigrant visas to applicants who have special occupational skills or education that would benefit America’s economic interests. The rest would be distributed to refugees and immigrants with close family ties to citizens or LPRs.

    The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Michael Feighan (D-Ohio), mobilized bipartisan resistance to Johnson’s immigration bill. Ultimately, however, he agreed to accept Johnson’s bill if he eliminated its emphasis on merit and skills and reserved most of the visas for immigrants with family ties to citizens and LPRs (chain migration).


    Published originally on The Hill.

    About the author. Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.

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