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OCA Backs Introduction of Reuniting Families Act in the House
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OCA Backs Introduction of Reuniting Families Act in the House

5 June 2009

Sarah Smith Nester | Communications Manager
202 223 5500 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. — OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), supports Rep. Michael Honda (CA-15) along with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-39) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-7)  for their introduction of the Reuniting Families Act (HR 2709) yesterday in the House of Representatives.

The Reuniting Families Act, similar to the Senate version introduced on May 21, would improve America’s outdated family-based immigration system and help keep American families together. Millions of close family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders are caught in the visa backlog, and for some APA families the wait is longer than 20 years. This bill would promote stability in American communities and foster the economic growth that immigrant families have provided throughout our history.

Specifically, the bill does the following:
  • Recaptures family and work visas that have gone unused and unclaimed due to bureaucratic delay,
  • Classifies lawful permanent resident spouses and children as "immediate relatives" and exempts them from numerical caps on family immigration,
  • Increases per country limits from 7 percent to 10 percent of total admissions to remedy long backlogs,
  • Allows orphans, widows, and widowers to immigrate despite the death of a sponsoring relative,
  • Recognizes the sacrifices of Filipino service members by exempting children of World War II Filipino veterans from numerical caps,
  • Treats stepchildren and biological children equally under immigration law; and
  • Allows same-sex permanent partners to sponsor their foreign partner for a permanent visa.
"APAs have a long history of immigration and contribution to the United States,” said OCA National President Ken Lee. "Filipino WWII veterans in particular have not been properly recognized for their years of service to this country, and they should be allowed to reunite with their beloved family members.”

"As someone who came to this country under the family-based immigration system, my family is an example of why this legislation is so important to Asian Pacific Americans and the communities we live in. Nearly half of the family members still waiting in the visa backlogs are relatives of APAs,” said OCA Executive Director George Wu. 
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Washington, DC 20036
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