Multiple Democratic lawmakers have recently declared the immigration term "chain migration" to be "racist" or "offensive," despite the party having freely used the term over the years.
Democratic Senator Kristen Gillibrand (N.Y.) claimed on Monday during ABC's "The View" that the use of the term is a "racist slur."
"Do you agree with Nancy Pelosi when she says Trump wants to ‘Make America White Again' and that's what this is about?" View host Joy Behar asked, referring to comments the House Minority Leader (D., Calif.) made last Friday.
"I think a lot of President Trump's rhetoric is racist. Let's be very clear: when someone uses the phrase chain migration … it is intentional in trying to demonize families, literally trying to demonize families and make it a racist slur," Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand's colleague Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) also believes the term is offensive. After a immigration meeting with President Donald Trump earlier this month, Durbin denounced the president for using the term.
"African-Americans believe that they migrated to America in chains, and when you speak about chain migration, it hurts them personally,'" he recalled telling the president. "He [Trump] said, ‘oh that’s a good line.'"
Chain migration is a process by which green card holders or legal U.S. residents may sponsor a family member for immigration to the United States. Under federal law this process is called "family reunification." It has garnered increased attention under the Trump administration as a result of the debate over immigration reform. Trump has called for an end to the practice and instead called for more merit-based immigration.
CBS news reports that 60 to 70 percent of all lawful immigration to the United States was family-based over the past decade.
It is the most common legal form of immigration to the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 238,087 immigrants were categorized as a "family-sponsored preference" in 2016, and 566,706 came as "immediate relatives of U.S. citizens" (spouses, children, or parents).
Between 60 and 70 percent of all lawful permanent immigration to the United States in the past decade has family-based roots.
Chain migration is a term often used by proponents of limiting immigration but has also been used by immigration advocates like Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.). Menendez has noted the term was "dehumanizing" to immigrants but has also frequently used the term on the senate floor.
Democrats have now just decided the term is a racist slur.