The Corner

Chain, Chain, Chain

Chain migration is a reality. It’s killing Europe, and causing serious difficulties here in the U.S. as well. In conjunction with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are sponsoring amendments designed to strengthen and expand family reunification polices, thus making the chain migration problem far worse than it already is. I touched on all this yesterday in “Look to Europe.”

The other day, Sen. Menendez gave a speech in which he rejected the term “chain migration” as “dehumanizing.” Well, it’s a helpful term in common use among academics–very much including academics who have no problem at all with chain migration.

Here’s a article on chain migration among Hispanic immigrants in the United States. The piece gives supporters and opponents of the practice a chance to sound off. To me, the picture it paints is far from comforting. The article focuses on the story of one man, Pablo Baltazar, legalized in the 1986 amnesty. Baltazar was able to bring over the entire, extended Baltazar family by importing all nine of his siblings, followed by their spouses, and children. More disturbing–and in a clear echoing of the European pattern–the article notes, “Chain migration has cleared out entire village in Mexico. And it has turned areas of rural North Carolina into places where Spanish is the dominant language.”

That is the heart of the problem. Not only does chain migration make nonsense of numerical limits, it transfers entire extended clans–even whole villages–from one country to another. By setting up a little world that’s culturally and linguistically just like the originating country, chain migration effectively blocks assimilation.

Amnesty isn’t the only serious danger in this bill. If either the Clinton or Obama amendments pass, the story of the Baltazar clan will be magnified many times over. But the kicker is that, while claiming to end chain migration, the immigration bill as written will actually accelerate extended family reunification (by clearing out the huge existing applicant backlog) for the next eight years. So even without the Clinton and Obama amendments, we are looking at a chain migration fiasco.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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