President Trump echoed anti-immigration groups Friday morning when he suddenly condemned any new immigration policy that would allow “chain migration.”
“CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!” he exclaimed.
Trump was referring to an immigration-policy concept that allowing immigrants to sponsor nonnuclear family members causes migration to surge. Critics of liberal immigration policies argue that one immigrant will sponsor several others, who in turn sponsor even more.
Heidi Beirich, the director of the South Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Intelligence Project, told Yahoo News that “chain migration” is a phrase “from the anti-immigrant world.” It is popular among groups that want to reduce legal immigration levels like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA.
“They don’t like it because they argue that it brought all these kinds of ‘undesirables’ to the United States,” Beirich said.
Trump’s sudden declaration Friday could be of some comfort to immigration hardliners wary of his recent outreach to Democrats and young people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi shocked Republicans Wednesday night when they announced that he had agreed not to deport the roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who had been shielded by DACA.
Trump has given Congress until March to come up with a new solution for reforming the immigration system after abolishing DACA, which was enacted by President Barack Obama. The Democratic leaders and Trump apparently agreed to an outline for a potential “DREAM Act,” which would legalize those former DACA recipients — there is some dispute as to whether citizenship is on the table — in exchange for additional border security measures. (Both Democrats and the White House have indicated that a border wall would not be part of the deal.)
But Trump’s anti-chain-migration position may complicate negotiations going forward, depending on what, exactly, Trump is insisting. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders demurred Friday afternoon when asked about the “chain migration” tweet.
“No deal has been … reached on this process,” she said during a media briefing. “He supports making an…