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Multiplying Diversity: Family Unification and the Regional Origins of Late-Age US Immigrants

Author(s): Tienda, Marta

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Abstract: Building on claims that the family unification provisions of 1965 Amendments drive changes in both the age composition and the regional origins of US legal permanent residents, we use administrative data to examine empirically whether and how chain migration links these two trends. Specifically, we ask: (1) How does the prevalence of family chain migration differ among major sending regions, and (2) how does the surge in late-age immigration since 1980 vary by source regions and major sending countries? Specifically, we derive age-specific migration multipliers for the major sending regions and the four top source countries. These nations also feature the largest backlogs for numerically capped family visas (Wasem 2012), which has implications for the age composition of sponsored relatives who age as they wait for visas in multi-year queues. In addition to improving on prior estimates of chain migration, our analyses clarify why the age composition of the foreign stock population from Asia and Latin America diverged (He 2002; Grieco et al. 2012). Before describing the data and estimation methods we provide a brief overview of the logic that led to Congress’s gross miscalculation of the impact of the 1965 Amendments on the regional origins of US immigrants. The concluding section discusses the implications of family chain migration in the context of an aging society and contemplated comprehensive reform.
Publication Date: 1-Sep-2017
Citation: Tienda, M. (2017). Multiplying Diversity: Family Unification and the Regional Origins of Late-Age US Immigrants. International Migration Review, 51 (3), 727 - 756. doi:10.1111/imre.12241
DOI: doi:10.1111/imre.12241
ISSN: 0197-9183
EISSN: 1747-7379
Pages: 727 - 756
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: International Migration Review
Version: Author's manuscript

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