Cotton: It's Time to End Chain Migration Permanently

January 8, 2018

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) gave a speech on the Senate floor on Monday about why he thinks the U.S. should end chain migration.

Chain migration allows immigrants with citizenship to petition to bring relatives to the country, as Cotton explained. This allows more and more relatives of those who immigrate to come to the U.S. themselves, thus providing the potential for a "never-ending chain" based on family connection alone.

"An end to chain migration will be one of the most important permanent changes to U.S. immigration law in 52 years," he said.

"The vast majority of people that immigrate to our country legally every single year do so for the sole reason that they just happen to be related to somebody that’s already here," Cotton also said.

Cotton cited the statistic only one in fifteen immigrants who come to the U.S. each year comes because of merit.

"We are a nation of immigrants. We’re a nation where blood ties are not supposed to dictate the path of your life, where you can fulfill your dreams," Cotton said.

But our nation's immigration system, Cotton argued, does the opposite by favoring "ties of blood" and "the ties of tribe."

"What could be less American than that?" Cotton asked.

Cotton pointed out that if chain migration were allowed to continue, then DACA recipients who did not immigrate legally would be able to bring in many more people as result of their initial arrival to the U.S.

Crediting the Trump administration's immigration enforcement, Cotton mentioned that blue-collar workers have seen an increase in wages for the first time in decades.

"But it's not enough to stop there," he said.

Cotton expressed concern about the DACA population getting legal status for their relatives and mentioned a recent terror attack in New York being carried out by an immigrant who lived in the U.S. because of chain migration.

"Not a single advanced, industrialized nation has such a lax immigration policy when it comes to immigrant families as we do. Not Canada. Not the United Kingdom. Not France. Not Germany. Not New Zealand. Not Japan," Cotton said, at the end of his call for family preferences and chain migration to end.

A day earlier, Cotton said Democrats are in an "unreasonable negotiating position" on immigration.

Right before Cotton's floor speech, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) echoed that sentiment when he said "As the Democrats see it, it's take it or leave it. It's their way or the highway."