What Is Chain Migration?

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What Is Chain Migration?

In an immigration context, the term "chain migration" is used to describe a phenomenon involving family-based visa petitions. In a chain migration situation, one foreign national may travel to the U.S. and eventually obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) or citizenship status. Lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens are able to petition or sponsor family members from their home country to immigrate to the United States.

The petitioned relative may then relocate to the U.S., obtain LPR or citizen status, and then petition more relatives. Thus a chain of migration is set up from the original immigrant, allowing many other family members to obtain citizenship in the U.S. Chain migration can also occur through other types of visas, such as marriage or fiancé visas.

Is Chain Migration Illegal?

Under current U.S. immigration laws and policies, chain migration is not illegal. In fact, the idea of family members petitioning other relatives was first implemented under immigration policies called "family reunification" policies. These aimed at allowing families to remain intact through the immigration policies. Other similar policies include those related to accompanying visas, wherein family members can travel with a migrating alien.

On the other hand, some experts dislike the notion of chain migration, stating that the process creates overpopulation of migrants. Also, opponents of chain migration state that those visa slots could be better filled by persons with work visas who are qualified to make contributions to businesses and the economy. But still, chain migration is less of an issue than illegal immigration, because the process is still supported by immigration laws.

What Are Some Problems with Chain Migration?

Chain migration is associated with various problems, including:

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Immigration Issues?

Immigration laws can sometimes be complicated. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need help filing a form or addressing an immigration matter. Your attorney can provide you with advice for you and your family members involved. Also, if you or a loved one needs to appear in an immigration court, your lawyer can provide you with legal representation during the hearings.

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Last Modified: 03-31-2014 04:23 PM PDT

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