July 11, 2008

Mythbuster!! MYTH: “Chain Migration” Allows Immigrants Bring their Entire Extended Family into the US.

Talk radio hosts would have you believe that by allowing legal immigrants to petition for their family members to join them in the US, we are throwing open the immigration flood gates through a process they refer to as “chain migration”. But, before giving up when you hear these erroneous statements, consider responding with a few quick mythbusting facts!

FACT: “Chain migration” is not possible under our immigration system. Current backlogs impose significant waiting periods on citizens and green card holders attempting to petition for a family member.

* According to the June 2008 Visa Bulletin Mexican spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents have a current estimated wait of 6 years, while the siblings of U.S. citizens from the Philippines must wait over 22 ½ years.

* Congress has established an annual ceiling of 226,000 visas for family-based immigrant petitions. Once that annual quota is reached, no more family-based immigrant petitions are granted regardless of the number filed.

* Despite alarmist predictions to the contrary, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has found that “massive chain migration is generally not occurring” and studies have determined that “a new immigrant will, ultimately, sponsor 1.2 dependents.”

FACT: U.S. citizens and green card holders can only sponsor direct immediate relatives (spouses, children, and siblings). It is impossible for anyone to sponsor their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents or any other distant relatives for a visa to enter the United States.

* More than half of all family-based immigrant petitions in 2005 were for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

AILA Doc. No. 08070967.