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OCA Pushes Congress on More Inclusive, Humane Immigration Bill

Wednesday, April 17, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kendall Kosai
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OCA Pushes Congress on More Inclusive, Humane Immigration Bill


17 April 2013


Tom Hayashi | Executive Director

202 223 5500 |

WASHINGTON, DC- OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is encouraged by the newly introduced S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, that seeks to overhaul the country’s broken immigration system.

"We are pleased by the progress that has been made in finding a solution to our broken immigration system that has forced millions to live in the shadows and be separated from their families for decades,” says Sharon M. Wong, OCA National President. "Our community must come together at this critical moment to push through a common sense bill that achieves our needs as a community.”

Immigration is an important issue to Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs),as over 1.8 million of the community’s family members are stuck in the visa backlogs waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, nearly 70 percent of APIs come to the United States through family-based visas, and about 1.3 million of APIs are undocumented. 

Within the 1,500 page bill, the proposed language attempts to address many key areas surrounding the immigration reform debate. We are pleased that the bill has fair and realistic guidelines for DREAMers to pursue citizenship, strong protection of immigrant workers’ rights, and eliminates the family backlog within a 10 year timeline. However, OCA is deeply concerned with several provisions that ignore several key components that are crucial to the APA community:
  • In regards to family reunification, the current drafted legislation caps the adult children category to those under the age of 31 as well as eliminates the "F4” visa category that enables citizens to sponsor their siblings. It is important that any final legislation include these classifications to ensure a humane and family based immigration system. 
  • The bill also omits the recognition of LGBT couples and families from the family definition category. Such an omission neglects the rights of same-sex couples as clear discrimination based on sexual orientation contrary to the values of our country. 
  • While significant language has been included to prevent profiling on the basis of race and ethnicity in deportation and detention, little action is proposed to ensure that all individuals are ensured a fair and decent trial by judge. 
  • While a pathway to citizenship for the 11.5 million undocumented individuals is included in the proposed legislation, the timeline for citizenship is extremely long, tenuous, and cost intensive for aspiring Americans. We strongly recommend an accelerated timeline for individuals to achieve their American dream. 

"While we are encouraged by the bipartisan efforts that have been put forth by the Senate ‘Gang of 8,’ we cannot compromise our values as a community,” says Tom Hayashi, OCA Executive Director. "We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that all APIs are included in the conversation around this significant issue.” 

OCA urges members of Congress to work together to take a more inclusive approach to ensure that we fix our immigration system that is attuned to our family values, economic opportunities, and moral perspective for all aspiring Americans.

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