What is “chain migration”?

Immigration Law Houston

What is “chain migration”?

A common topic or word that comes up in the news when discussing immigration is “chain migration”. However, a lot of people don’t actually understand what chain migration is or what it’s referring to and how it affects the United States.

To understand chain migration first we have to understand the family immigration process. Whenever somebody receives their United States Citizens Status the USA has this policy or this idea that family should be together. This is the main concept of family immigration in the United States. But obviously, you can’t invite the whole outside USA into the United States so the government created a  family based ranking system . Certain family members fall under what’s called immediate relative status. This will be the US Citizen’s spouse, parents, and children. There are other categories for your siblings but there is a much longer wait associated with it.

A practical example of “chain migration”

That’s the groundwork for chain migration so now let’s explain how it comes into play. So let’s pretend I am Uncle Sam (US Citizen) and I live in the United States. I decide to go marry British Betty and she moves to the United States and gets a green card to live here with me. But let’s pretend British Betty has a four-year-old child from a previous marriage. That child can now also come.

Let’s Pretend British Betty eventually becomes a US citizen, she could now get her parents over here to the United States. 

How long does family immigration take?

Depending on which family category you are part of your wait could be as little as a year to almost 20+ years. The Department of State issues that shows what application dates are currently being approved.

All these family members would still have to go through the same immigration process. The government would have to get all their information, find out if they have any criminal records, and make sure that the family members are able to support them financially.

So to sum it all up chain migration was a term given to the process of bringing family members to the United States and eventually, those family members could bring other members.


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