Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez insisted during a CNN interview Tuesday that the term “chain migration” is offensive to descendants of slaves.
“Chain migration” refers to immigration policy that allows the extended families of immigrants to join them in the United States. According to Menendez, who is fresh off of a corruption trial, the term is “cruel” and “obscene.”
“I find it obscene, the phrase ‘chain migration,'” Menendez told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. “It is incredibly cruel to those whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains in slavery.”
“It is a dehumanizing element of what is, in essence, family reunification, which has been the core of American immigration principal for over a century,” Menendez continued, “the belief that when we have families together, that ultimately they strengthen not only themselves and help each other but they help build communities and help build our nation.”
Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin first identified the term “chain migration” as offensive in January, explaining that it is racist toward African Americans. (RELATED: Dick Durbin: ‘Chain Migration’ Is A Racist Term)
“I said to the president, ‘do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African Americans believe they migrated to America in chains, and when you speak to chain migration it hurts them personally,’” Durbin said at the time.