House Republicans eye crackdown on family-sponsored immigration


FIRST ON FOX: A group of House Republicans are eyeing a crackdown on certain legal immigration pathways to the United States, citing “exploitation and abuse” of the system.

Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, introduced a bill called the “Nuclear Family Priority Act” aimed at limiting who can get family-sponsored immigrant visas. Critics call the abuse of the family-sponsored system “chain migration.”

“Unrestricted chain migration has allowed for the inexcusable exploitation and abuse of our immigration system. I’m proud to introduce this bill that will help restore the rule of law, prevent our nation from being overburdened, and bolster our national security,” Crane told Fox News Digital.

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House Republicans stand behind Rep. Eli Crane outside of the U.S. Capitol

Rep. Eli Crane (right) is leading a conservative bill to limit family-sponsored migration to the U.S. It’s backed by multiple GOP hardliners including Reps. Andy Ogles and Mary Miller (pictured in background). (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“I’m grateful to former Rep. Jody Hice for introducing this bill last Congress and to the cosponsors who have joined me in introducing it this Congress,” Crane said. 

If passed, the bill would eliminate extended, non-nuclear family visa categories as well as limit eligibility for family-sponsored visas to nuclear family members only – typically consisting of just spouses and their children.

It would also reduce the baseline yearly cap for new family-sponsored visas, which is currently 480,000, according to the National Immigration Forum.

Special circumstances would be considered for visa applicants aiming to care for their U.S.-based parents.

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State Department seal

Crane’s bill would remove ‘parents’ from the State Department’s list of ‘immediate relatives’ eligible for family-sponsored visas (Celal Gunes / Anadolu Agency)

The bill is backed by GOP hardliners, including House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., who is among its cosponsors. Others include Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.; Bill Posey, R-Fla.; Mary Miller, R-Ill.; and Andy Ogles, R-Tenn.

According to the State Department, family immigration visas are separated into two main categories: immediate relatives and family preference. 

Immediate relatives would be spouses, children or parents of the person applying for the visa. The Department’s website states, “The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.”

Crane’s bill would remove parents from that list, according to text obtained by Fox News Digital.

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Bob Good

Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good is among the bill’s backers.

Family preference refers to “specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)” including parents, children, siblings, and spouses. Permanent residents are limited to spouses and unmarried children. Immigrant visas in this category are capped, according to the State Department.

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Critics of the system have argued that people overstaying their visas after coming to the U.S. through a family member are helping fuel the ongoing migrant crisis.

There are as many as 16.8 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a conservative-leaning think tank.



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