The Myth about Chain Migration

“Chain migration” is not permitted under the rules of the U.S. Immigration System. Current backlogs make the admission of family members subject to non-practical waiting periods that can stretch into decades, or even longer for potential family members of immigrants arriving from non-favored nations.

Chain migration is a term often implied in the case of Mexican immigrants and other Latin American countries, although not limited exclusively to those relatively-favored nations. Among Hispanic peoples, the idea of extended families has always been in vogue and entails great significance, as relatives by marriage, cousins, and siblings are all appreciated as “family,” an unofficial status that implies emotional charge ranging from affection to the contempt bred by familial intimacy that only a rule-breaking family member can engender. Although extended families are undergoing a revival of sorts in the currently dismal American economic climate, U.S. nuclear groups tend to be more isolated, with family ties often severed when the parents of children die, if not before this occurs.

In Mexico, Uncle Pedro and Aunt Elisa and Cousin Felicia, a third cousin by marriage to Cousin Narciso, tend to be equally treasured. The new life desired in the U.S. is something to be shared if at all feasible or possible, and so the phenomenon known as chain migration takes place. Unfortunately, in the political and economic climate that comprises the U.S. of 2009, this phenomenon is in jeopardy.

It’s just not permitted, whether or not it was ever encouraged, however tacitly. The excuse is current backlogs, but the reality is a loss of control over the persons being allowed to immigrate. The backlogs impose prohibitive waiting periods on citizens and green card holders attempting to petition for a family member, however close or distant.

According to the April 2009 Visa Bulletin, Mexican spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents have a current estimated wait of greater than 7 years. For other countries less-favored than the closely-proximate Mexico, waiting times can approach the absurd: for instance, siblings of U.S. citizens from the Philippines must wait 22 years and 6 months.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee or to learn more about Houston immigration lawyer, immigration lawyer in Houston, Houston immigration attorney, visit their information filled web site at

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