Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joint Statement of the Asian American Community Opposing the Senate’s Proposed Elimination of Family Reunification Immigration Categories

80-20 Initiative, Inc.
Asian Law Caucus
Cambodian Community Development, Inc.
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese Progressive Association
Korean Community Center of the East Bay
Organization for Justice & Equality
Southeast Asian Community Center
Traditional Family Coalition

Issued in San Francisco on June 12, 2007

We are pleased that the U.S. Senate has at least temporarily stepped back from its unprecedented attack on the basic rights of American citizens with close family members overseas. Since 1965, the law has recognized the importance and integrity of families and has given citizens the right to sponsor a limited number of family members’ immigration, in most cases after a lengthy waiting period. But Senate Amendment 1150 to S. 1348 would strip American citizens of their ability to sponsor any child who has reached age 21, as well as any siblings. The same proposal would also introduce a lengthy waiting period for citizens sponsoring their own parents. Not only would the plan eliminate most of the existing categories of family reunification, it would unfairly do so retroactively by canceling sponsorship applications that American citizens have already filed and paid for.

This proposal (part of the so-called “grand bargain” on immigration reform) did not go through the normal Senate committee process. It originated in the White House in March as part of a massive rewriting of U.S. immigration laws, and was fleshed out in closed-door negotiations in May by a small group of Republican and Democratic senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

We believe that the bill as presently written would needlessly sacrifice the rights of millions of American citizens and that the basic framework of the proposal is deeply flawed. Thus, the current bill is unacceptable and should be rejected. There has not been any major amendment to restore family reunion categories so far, the most important ones towards this direction including amendments by Clinton, Obama, and Menendez, have all been blocked. The first two by procedural tactics. We are concerned that under the current circumstances with the passage of some other amendments, the final bill may be even harsher and more unacceptable.

We believe that this pause in the immigration debate should be used to reconsider the structure of the bill. We strongly urge legislators to abandon this effort to eliminate family immigration categories, and we will not forget those in Congress of either party who vote to deny Americans our cherished right to reunite with our families. We urge all Americans to voice your strong objections to this inhumane, unjust, and anti-family proposal and its devastating consequences, and to act for the betterment of American families and our country itself by immediately contacting your Senators.

Call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators.

Please sign the online petition to stop the elimination of family reunion categories at:
http://www.80-20initiative.net/petition.html

You can send a free fax to your Senator at www.asianlawcaucus.org
 

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