Shikha Dalmia in Bloomberg Laments Pro-Immigration Conservatives Who Tout the "Chain Migration" Myth


On immigration, it seems, the conservatives' principle is conservation of anti-immigration bias. If they tamp down animus against one set of immigrants, then they must whip it up against another.

How else to explain the gratuitous swipe against "chain migration" in an otherwise excellent commentary in the Wall Street Journal last week by Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick debunking virtually every other immigration myth on the right, asks Shikha Dalmia?

While calling for more employment-based immigration, for both skilled and unskilled foreign workers, Bush and Bolick maintained that since the 1960s, thanks to American emphasis on family reunification, the driver of immigration to the U.S. has been "chain migration," which purportedly allows immigrants to bring in their extended families until entire villages are emptied out.  

But "chain migration" is a myth cooked up by ultra-restrictionist organizations, such as NumbersUSA, that foster misunderstanding about how U.S. laws work and undermine more-welcoming policies.

Go here to read the whole thing.

Bonus material: Reason's flowchart on the long wait times that immigrants have to endure, thanks to our utterly broken immigration system.

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  1. “extended families”

    Do they not realize just how long it takes to get an in-law into this country? Or how long it takes for that in-law to become a resident who can sponsor in-laws of his own?

    If you wanted to get an “entire village” into this country by now you would have needed to have started long before modern immigration policy was enacted.

  2. …until entire villages are emptied out.

    We takes a village.

  3. Everyone knows that he proper libertarian position on immigration is “keep those brown skinned commie furners out!!”

    To be fair, there are many different breeds of libertarians. They can range from the big government “we need government to put a big plastic bubble around the country” libertarians, to the Hoppe-esque “Smash the state (except for the INS)” anarcho-libertarians.

    1. Considering the beyond-hilarious “anarchist” justifications for prohibiting freedom of travel, residence, labor, and association with agreeable property owners that Hoppe and his ilk provide, are you sure there is anything inside that range?

      1. The spectrum of anti-immigration libertarianism is very broad! Just go peruse the HnR commentariat of the last few days. While I can understand some pragmatic arguments against radical reform of our immigration policies, just simply cannot understand the “moral” arguments coming from so-called libertarians. Are they unfamiliar with the non-aggression principle? Are they unclear on the concept of natural and unalienable rights? Heck, are they confused as to the difference between larger and smaller sizes of government?

        I am frankly dismayed by all the shameless pandering to the cultural conservatives that is going on. Do these libertarians really think the crypto-racists of the right are going to reform and change their ways just because they gave them a lap dance?

        1. Im not sure any of those arguments were coming from actual libertarians, but I may be in dangerous of True Scotsmaning them out.

  4. Is Shikha whining about how long it is taking to bring her extended family in and sign them all up for entitlements?

  5. “Chain migration” is hardly a “myth”: it is well established in the anthropological and sociological literature. It is largely non-existent in the case of in-migration into the U.S., however, because U.S. policies make it difficult. But in places with more open policies, it is not uncommon for some of the younger men in a family to immigrate, find jobs, and send money back home to bring the rest of the family along. And within the U.S. it is quite common between states, where a family member moves to another state and then the rest of the family follows over time.

    Just because some restrictionist organizations have misused the concept for their own ends doesn’t mean the concept itself is invalid.

  6. You have got to admit dude that is like WAY cool!

  7. The funniest thing about this sad article is that Shikha’s own flowchart SHOWS that chain migration exists. Oh, it’s not called that, it’s called ‘the easiest way to become a citizen’.

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