WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) on Friday released the following statement:
“The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus strongly condemns President Trump’s reprehensible statement about immigrants from African and other countries. It is racist and reveals his thinking that he would like to ‘Make America White Again.’ President Trump would like to take this country backward and end immigration as we know it.
“With his statement, it is now clear why President Trump has moved to end the DACA program, decimate legal immigration, and to end the Temporary Protected Status of countries.
“CAPAC believes strongly that the most urgent business at hand is to pass a clean DREAM Act. We must protect the lives of the 800,000 young people who fear deportation to a country they do not even know, and who not only come from Mexico, but also South Korea, the Philippines, India and many other countries from around the world. We also believe, however that, such a solution should not be done on the back of our family-based immigration system.
“The family-based immigration system has contributed greatly to America, contrary to the pejorative term President Trump uses for it, ‘chain migration.’ Despite what he and his Republican allies claim, family migration is not a flaw in our immigration system – it is a great strength to our economy, our communities and our families. Family-based immigration has often been the only mechanism for women to enter the United States.
“Today, three quarters of all immigrants to the United States are women and children, and they contribute mightily to our economy, our communities and the stability of our families. If Republicans want to claim to be the party of ‘family values,’ they should embrace this critical part of our system as many Republicans of old have done.
“We should not trade one family’s pain for that of another. Therefore, CAPAC will not support a DACA deal that will make any changes to our family-based immigration system.”
Following are comments from individual CAPAC members:
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “On this eve of MLK weekend where we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, it’s an interesting coincidence of timing, frankly, that the president of the United States would speak … the hateful words that he spoke at a time that we are honoring a man that lived and died with the spirit of saying we are one people, and human rights and humanity should be the priority for all of us.
“The words of a president are very powerful words, and unfortunately this president has used his words to demean and belittle, instead of uplifting people. And it is deeply troubling. It is unfortunate and it is irresponsible, simply irresponsible.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Donald Trump’s ability to degrade the office of the presidency never ceases to shock me. Disgraceful. What makes this country strong is the diversity of its people. Nothing can change that, no matter what the president says.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), CAPAC chair: “If Donald Trump had his way, my grandfather would not have been welcome here. I would not be here. But I am here. And I’m a member of Congress. I will use my vote and my voice to oppose racism and prejudice at every turn. There is a battle for the soul and future of our country.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles), CAPAC whip: “Once again, President Trump is dividing our nation. His statement today in the Oval Office was beyond the pale, even for him. As a proud immigrant serving in Congress, I will continue to fight tirelessly against these hateful policies.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “When he attacked Haiti and Africa, @realDonaldTrump thought he was disparaging those countries. In truth, he was defaming himself, his office, and our nation. America must remain welcoming to people from all parts of the world.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “These racist and offensive comments reflect President Trump’s complete disregard for common decency. Immigrants from all countries help define who we are as a nation. We all have a responsibility to reject this hateful rhetoric.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “Donald Trump continues to prove that he is unfit to serve as president or in any position where he allegedly represents the interests and culture of our country to the world. These shameful, racist comments further diminish the office of the president. We are a nation defined and enriched by our diversity and inclusion. He must apologize and my Republican colleagues have to ask themselves, at what point do you stop putting your party before our country?”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “Growing up in Hawaii, we learn about and believe in the aloha spirit — showing respect to others no matter our differences. President Trump’s comments fly directly in the face of that aloha spirit and the values that our country represents. Immigrants have come here for generations, at times risking their lives, to seek opportunity and freedom for themselves and their families. The very people that he seeks to exclude from the United States are those who have contributed so much to making our country great.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “Can someone at the White House please remind the President that the American Dream is not only for immigrants of a certain color?”
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “The president’s comments on immigration do not reflect widely-held American values.”