Congressman Eli Crane Introduces Restriction on Chain Migration

by State Brief

House Republicans have backed new restrictions on immigration amid an ongoing crisis at the United States-Mexico border.

Congressman Eli Crane of Arizona introduced a bill that would restrict chain migration, the process that allows a green card holder or a legal resident to sponsor any member of their family for immigration.

The Nuclear Family Priority Act would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reduce legal immigration. The bill would limit family-sponsored visas to just a citizen or green card holder’s immediate family and eliminate the option to sponsor distant relatives. The policy would also reduce the annual cap for the number of family-sponsored visas the government can issue.

Crane’s office said that the current family sponsorship regulations have “resulted in endless chains of foreign nationals overwhelming our immigration system” and “incentivizes illegal immigration by encouraging distant relatives of immigrants to arrive and reside illegally in the U.S. while they wait for a visa to become available.”

“Unrestricted chain migration has allowed for the inexcusable exploitation and abuse of our immigration system,” said Crane in a press release. “I’m proud to introduce this bill that will help restore the rule of law, prevent our nation from being overburdened, and bolster our national security.”

Immigration restriction advocates have raised concerns about the long-term impact of chain migrations for years. The policy was introduced in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act when the federal government opted to prioritize “family reunification” when deciding which immigrants would be admitted to the United States.

In 2017, the Federation for American Immigration Reform warned that “most migrants receive a green card simply because they are the relative of an earlier migrant, not because of what they can contribute to American society.”

“This creates a ‘chain’ of immigrants who can then sponsor other immigrants in the same manner. These, in turn, may sponsor more immigrants, and so on,” the organization stated. “As more and more immigrants are admitted to the United States, the population eligible to sponsor their relatives for green cards increases exponentially. This means that every time one immigrant is admitted, the door is opened to many more.”

Immigration Forum reported in 2018 that family visas accounted for 65% of all legal immigration annually.

Crane noted that the bill was introduced during the last congress by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice, who re-introduced the bill at three consecutive congresses. He retired at the end of his term in 2023. Before Hice, the proposal was introduced by now-retired Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who first introduced the bill in 2006.

Six Republicans co-sponsoring the bill include Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs, Virginia Congressman Bob Good, Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale, Florida Congressman Bill Posey, Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller, and Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles.

We MUST put an end to the current immigration policies that allow illegals to take advantage of the family-sponsored visa system and invade our country by the millions!” said Rosendale in a post on X.

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