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OCA Supports Policy Framework Presented on Immigration Reform

Thursday, January 31, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kendall Kosai
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OCA Supports Policy Framework Presented on Immigration Reform


31 January 2013


Tom Hayashi | Executive Director

202 223 5500 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is encouraged by the policy framework that has been presented by the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama regarding comprehensive immigration reform.

In the Senate’s bi-partisan policy proposal, individuals who have unlawful residency status can receive probationary legal status by passing a background check and paying fines and back taxes. In addition, a new employment verification system and agriculture worker program is set to be established to regulate policies that have been widely unchecked. President Obama has also expressed strong support for family reunification, an issue that separates families for decades, as well as provisions that extends LGBT families privileges on par with heterosexual families.

"While the framework that has been presented is very broad and does not include specific details, it does seem to provide a solid foundation toward immigration reform which attempts to address key human rights issues,” says Sharon Wong, OCA National President. "There is no time like the present to put forth much needed policy solutions that reunifies families, grants a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals already here, and focus on growing the country’s economy.”

In addition, the Senate’s initial proposal provides a solution to the immigration "brain-drain”, a phenomenon where non-citizens are educated under the United States’ education system, but must return to their country of origin due to restricted issuance of work visas. The new immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s Degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university.

As the legislation will be presented in the coming weeks, specific details will be determined. It is important to ensure that significant portions of the APA community don’t slip through the cracks. While agriculture and low-skilled workers have a separate path to citizenship, many other occupations held by APA immigrants must be included in ensuring a fair and reasonable plan.

"Timely and adequate reform requires strong support from broad segments of our society as well as a level of creativity that address key economic and political priorities of our country,” notes Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director, "We look forward to working with Congressional leaders on fair and realistic legislation that ensures a competent and humane immigration system for everyone.”

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