How About a Solo Immigration Visa for Refugees?

By David North on September 26, 2011

One of the largely hidden problems with current U.S. immigration policy is that if we let in an immigrant, refugee, or asylee we set in motion, over time, the admission of that person's (often numerous) relatives.

His or her siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, and ultimately, their siblings, parents, spouses, nieces and nephews, and so on, generation after generation. Chain migration is the cause of much of the expansion of the U.S. population.

While it may be perfectly appropriate policy to save someone from, say, Iranian persecution (on the grounds of their religion, for example), why should we automatically give the same rights to some relative of that person, who may have no such problem. If the distant relatives of that particular Iranian has similar problems, or different ones, let them apply separately.

Being a nation in which we have too much unemployment, and too many people, the acceptance of chain migration is a needless demographic extravagance.

So without changing our welcoming policies about admitting true refugees and asylees, why not admit that person in exchange for a simple demographic agreement? OK, we say, we are worried about you and your rights, and we will admit you and your spouse, and your under-21-year-old unmarried children – but that's it.

In exchange for those admissions you, your spouse and your kids will agree that you will never seek – as a relative, as a refugee, or as an employer – to bring any more immigrants to the United States, for the rest of your lives. If there are, subsequently, U.S.- born children, then they would have all the immigration-creating rights of other U.S. citizens, but the incoming family, no.

We save the persecuted person, and his or her immediate family, but we do not set in motion chain migration. What could be more sensible?

I call it the solo immigrant policy, or solo-family immigration policy. It probably should be extended beyond refugees and asylees, but that would be a good place to start.

This notion will be immediately attacked as hard-hearted by those who do not worry about the size of our population and the extent of the nation's poverty.

Perhaps, but the potentially admitted refugee or asylee will always have the option of turning down this, now mildly-limited, invitation to join the U.S. family. The decision may be a tough one, but it would be that person's own.

The next time that the Executive asks Congress to approve a suggested level of refugee admissions – and it happens every year about this time – Congress could say, certainly, but only if the admittees possess no rights to cause further waves of immigration, as suggested above.