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  1. "Chain Migration" Was Originally Put in the 1965 Immigration Law to Please Nativists Who Wanted to Keep America White. They Were Wrong. Roger Algase

    This comment is a continuation of my January 19 ilw. com comment on the origins of the current family immigration system a/k/a "chain migration" which was once a neutral or even a scholarly term meaning extended family immigration beyond the immediate "nuclear" family. but has now become a term of animosity and opprobrium used by immigration restrictionists to refer to non-white immigrants in general.

    In my January 19 comment, I began a discussion of the paradox inherent in the fact that a provision which was originally inserted in the landmark 1965 immigration reform at the instigation of nativist Congressmen in both parties (chiefly, but not exclusively, Southern Democrats and Midwestern Republicans) in order to keep America white has had the opposite effect. See:

    "Chain Migration" and the Visa Lottery Originally Promoted White Immigration. That Changed. So Trump and the GOP Now Want to Abolish Them

    Now, one month after my original post, the issue of extended family immigration has become even more contentious and has come under increasing scrutiny because of Donald Trump's efforts to use the issue of relief for Dreamers from the threat of deportation (which Trump himself created by cancelling DACA almost six months ago effective March 5) as a quid quo pro for his non-negotiable demand that Congress agree to abolish legal immigration beyond the nuclear family (and to eliminate the diversity visa lottery - another source of mainly non-white immigration which has been in effect for the past two decades).

    Therefore, it is instructive to look at the history of the "chain migration" provision of the 1965 law to see exactly how it became part of the law, what its purpose was, and how its nativist backers (and almost everyone else involved with this law) failed to predict what its actual effect would be.

    In this discussion, I will refer to two studies by independent experts who, as will be seen below, rely on objective facts for their conclusions and cannot be justly accused of partisanship or bias on either side. The first study is by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled:

    Fifty Years On,
    the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act Continues to Reshape the United States (October 15, 2015)

    The second study consists of an October 3, 2015 article by Tom Gjelten, an NPR policy analyst, member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and the author of a book on the 1965 immigration law. His article is entitled:

    In 1965, A Conservative Tried to Keep America White. His Plan Backfired.

    To begin with, nothing could be less accurate than to think that the overall purpose of the 1965 immigration act was to institute or maintain a white supremacist immigration regime or to favor Europe over other parts of the world.

    To the contrary, the 1965 law was enacted at the instigation of liberal Democrats such as Congressman Emmanuel Celler (D-NY) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) in order abolish the openly racist "national origins" immigration quota system of the previous 1924 law which had heavily favored immigration from the "Nordic" countries of Europe (or, to use Donald Trump's notorious January 11 phrase about his own preferred source of immigrants to America 94 years later: "countries like Norway").

    The 1924 law, as everyone who has even the slightest knowledge of US immigration history is well aware, had cut off immigration almost entirely from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as heavily Jewish Eastern Europe and even more heavily Catholic Southern Europe.

    But as President Lyndon Johnson famously said when he signed the 1965 law abolishing these racially motivated quotas, America's new policy would be to ask immigrants: "What can you do for our country?" not"In what country were you born?".

    To be continued in a forthcoming post.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 02-19-2018 at 11:56 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Trump Continues Assault Against "Chain Migration" Even Though His Family Came To US Same Way. Will Ending Birthright Citizenship Be Next? Roger Algase

    The news that Melania Trump's Slovenian parents are now in the United States helping to take care of Trump's son Barron has fueled speculation that they may have come to the United States with green cards sponsored by Melania, who is a US citizen but has had a controversial immigration history herself which has never been fully explained by the White House.

    This would be an exact example of the same "chain migration" which Trump is calling "horrible" (in a December 29, 2017 tweet), and making up totally fictitious stories about, such as the delusional one that a lone wolf radicalized Muslim attacker in New York who ran over and killed 8 people last Halloween had sponsored "23 relatives" to come to the US, not a single one of whom has ever been identified.

    While it is also possible that Melania Trump's parents may be in the US simply as tourists on a temporary 6-month visa, a benefit that is not always easily granted to parents of US citizens who come from outside Europe and want to visit their US children or grandchildren, the White House has also refused to release any information on this either - claiming "privacy" on behalf of the First Lady of the United States!

    See February 14:

    Whatever the immigration status of Trump's in-laws in the US may or may not be, however, one thing is clear: both Trump's own Scottish mother and his own German grandfather came to the US to join their own siblings - through "chain migration" very similar to that which Trump and his administration are now furiously lobbying to take away from millions of American citizens who may want to sponsor their own parents, simply because they come from countries whose citizens have a skin color different from that of Trump's own family members.

    (As an aside, Trump's father Fred reportedly lied about his own German ancestry and falsely claimed that he was of Swedish origin, a lie which Donald Trump reportedly perpetuated in his Art of the Deal book - according to CNN. This would show that Trump's antagonistic relationship with the truth about immigration extended even to his own ancestry.)

    For more details on how Trump and his administration lobbied against and killed a bipartisan compromise Senate bill to protect Dreamers which Trump called a "catastrophe" because it did not include the huge cutbacks in family immigration and elimination of the diversity visa lottery which he demanded, see:

    Given Trump's history of saying and doing everything possible to cut back non-European legal immigration, there is no reason to think that he would stop at just eliminating large parts of family immigration and abolishing the visa lottery.

    As a candidate, Trump repeatedly spoke out against birthright citizenship for the American-born children of parents who lack immigration status, something that would deprive millions of Hispanic, Asian and black Americans of the citizenship that is guaranteed to them by the 14th amendment to the US Constitution as upheld 120 years ago by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Wong Kim Ark (1898)

    For just one sample of Trump's 2015 comments on this issue, which echo the position of some other anti-immigrant organizations and openly white supremacist politicians such as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who introduced legislation to end birthright citizenship even for US-born children of certain legal immigrants, see:

    There is no indication that Trump has changed his views since then or that he has lost interest in trying to pursue this issue, which would turn the US into an officially white supremacist state similar to apartheid South Africa.

    Trump's assault on family immigration and the visa lottery could therefore be looked at as just a dress rehearsal for an even bigger battle over race as it affects both immigration and citizenship, which could very likely be coming up next.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 02-20-2018 at 10:15 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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