Chain Migration and Why It Matters

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 19

By Mark Krikorian and Jessica M. Vaughan on September 2, 2021

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Listen to "Chain Migration and Why It Matters" on Spreaker.


Every year the United States welcomes more than one million legal immigrants; two-thirds of this population are family members brought in through chain migration. With an average immigrant sponsoring 3.45 family members, the U.S. immigration flow is always impacted by chain migration.

The thousands of Afghans being resettled in the U.S. will be able to eventually petition for more relatives, just as all illegal immigrants granted amnesty would be able to bring in family members. On this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, Jessica Vaughan, the Center's director of policy studies, joins host Mark Krikorian to discuss chain migration, its impact, and possible policy changes. Should immigrants be entitled to bring in their adult siblings and their families? Adult children and their families? Parents? The larger question is whether we should continue to allow yesterday’s immigrants to select tomorrow’s immigrants.

In the closing commentary, Krikorian, the Center’s executive director, highlights the risks associated with the present vetting of Afghans. He argues that vetting is essentially impossible due to a lack of information on the ground and that regardless of what is discovered through vetting, all Afghans brought out from the country will be coming to the U.S. and eventually qualify for citizenship.

Mark Krikorian, the Center’s executive director and host of Parsing Immigration Policy, moderates the conversation.

Related Reports

Immigration Multipliers

Kabuki Vetting of Afghans

Whom Should We Take from Afghanistan?

Afghan Refugees: How Many? How Vet?

Bills to Speed Resettlement of Afghan Allies Cut Corners on National Security, Fraud, and Public Health

Refugee Resettlement Fraud


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".