Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) used the term "chain migration" during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, despite some of her Democratic colleagues denouncing the phrase.
"Chain migration" refers to the immigration process by which immigrants are able to sponsor their immediate and extended family to join them in the U.S. The Trump administration has called for an end to this facet of the U.S. immigration system as part of a larger reform package.
"As to family reunification, that gets a little more difficult, depending on how far they want to go," McCaskill said. "The president has misled the American people about how big a problem chain migration is. I would rather see us focus on the millions of people that are legally waiting in line right now."
Despite Democrats using the term freely over the past few decades, some have declared it racist in recent weeks.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.)—incorrectly referring to the immigration process as "chained migration" on ABC's "The View" last month—said it is a "racist slur" and a way to "demonize families."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who has used the term "chain migration" on the Senate floor, told reporters last month that he had told President Donald Trump that the term "chain migration" is offensive to African Americans.