News and Commentary

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin: The Term ‘Chain Migration’ Is ‘Painful’ To African Americans

On Friday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) claimed that he rebuked President Trump when he used the term “chain migration” during his bipartisan meeting on Wednesday:

When it came to the issue of “chain migration,” I said to the president: “Do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African Americans believe that they migrated to America in chains, and when you speak about chain migration, it hurts them personally.” He said: “Oh, that’s a good line.”

As Alex Griswold of The Washington Free Beacon notes, an October 2007 press release from Durbin’s official website in which lawmakers are urged to support the DREAM Act uses the term “chain migration”:

The DREAM Act would NOT lead to “chain migration”. DREAM Act beneficiaries would have very limited ability to sponsor family members. They could never sponsor extended family members and they could not begin sponsoring siblings or parents for at least six years.

A December 2010 column by Kristen Hare that uses the term “chain migration” without condemnation can be found on Durbin’s website as well.

Additionally, Durbin has even used the term himself:

@VinicioSenador @realDonaldTrump @HillaryClinton Dick Durbin (D-IL) The DREAM Act would not allow what is known as chain migration,” Durbin said. “In fact, DREAM Act students would have very limited ability to sponsor their family members for legal status.

— Danilo Sosa (@Sosa_Danilo) January 13, 2018

During the immigration meeting with President Trump, Sen. Durbin used the word “chain” when talking about areas of agreement between Democrats and Republicans on certain issues:

We have a deadline looming and a lot of lives hanging. We can agree on some very fundamental and important things together on border security, on chain, on the future of diversity visas…

Here’s the footage (pertinent portion begins at the 33:52 mark):

According to TIME, chain migration is “the process by which one immigrant is admitted to the country, then he or she sponsors relatives back home to come to the U.S., who in turn could sponsor more relatives.”

President Trump has said he wants to end chain migration.