JACL Statement on Senate Immigration Bill

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WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on April 17.

“JACL commends the ‘Gang of Eight’ for crafting bipartisan legislation that addresses the critical need for immigration reform.

“As the oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization in the nation, JACL recognizes the significant opportunity this bill provides to move the dialogue towards real changes for communities of color. Upon initial review of the extensive immigration bill, JACL is encouraged to see legislation that incorporates a shortened pathway to citizenship for those covered under the DREAM Act.

“However, JACL urges Congress to consider amendments to address family reunification. The bill eliminates the category for U.S. citizens to sponsor their siblings for immigrant visas and restricts the existing category for married sons and daughters of citizens of the United States to include only sons and daughters who are 30 years or younger.

“A strong system that keeps families together delivers both social and economic benefits as immigrant families play a large role in the small-business economy.

“‘As AAPIs are the fastest-growing minority group in the country, and represent a population that is nearly two-thirds foreign born, today’s changes to the immigration reform system will have real impacts for generations to come,’ says Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida.

“While JACL is encouraged by the work done by the ‘Gang of Eight,’ we recognize there is still much work to be done. In the current bill, the LGBT community is noticeably excluded from the provisions surrounding family immigration. JACL will continue to monitor the progress made by Congress to create a system that protects the rights of all people.”

The “Gang of Eight” consists of: Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona; Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Richard Durbin of Illinois.

Rally in D.C.

On April 10, JACL’s Washington, D.C. staff participated in events on Capitol Hill in support of immigration reform.

At noon, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 30 national organizations, and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) held a briefing on immigration policy that featured powerful stories from Lundy Khoy, a Cambodian American legal resident who faces deportation; Ian Cainglet, a Filipino teacher who was abused by a fraudulent labor recruiter under the H-1B visa program; Kevin (HyunKyu) Lee, a Korean American DREAMer; and Bithi Roy, a U.S. citizen separated from siblings in Bangladesh.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) and Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) each spoke on the importance of CIR (comprehensive immigration reform) and how it impacts the Asian American/Pacific Islander community.

JACL gathered with tens of thousands of community, labor and immigrant rights supporters and immigrant families for the “Citizenship for 11 Million” Rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. In an effort spearheaded by the Asian American Justice Center, over 600 AAPIs were brought in from around the country to support the immigration reform effort.

JACL participated in a rally for immigrant rights outside the U.S. Capitol.

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