NQAPIA, along with other members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), the leading coalition of national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocacy organizations, issued a joint statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s markup in favor of S. 744- Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
The bill, which was moved forward out of committee by a 13-5 vote margin, kept key provisions of the base bill, including a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented. Unfortunately, amendments to address family immigration, including provisions to restore access for siblings and adult married children, were not included in the final bill. Senator Leahy’s (D-VT) amendments to include same sex bi-national couples were also not included.
NQAPIA’s statement by Ben de Guzman, Co-Director for Programs, is included in the joint statement, which appears below and is also available on NCAPA’s web site:
“This historic legislation is now moving forward, but still includes insufficiently narrow definitions of family. The failure to act on provisions to include same sex bi-national couples in the family immigration system is particularly difficult to bear, especially given the strong support our organizations have shown for LGBT families in our communities. Sen. Hirono’s amendments to improve the family immigration system that were not passed tell us that we must ramp up the fight for a broad and inclusive definition of family in this immigration bill.”
NQAPIA continues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps ALL our families together.
NCAPA Leaders Comment on Passage of Senate Immigration Bill though Senate Judiciary Committee
WASHINGTON ― Leaders from the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 30 national Asian Pacific American organizations, issued the following statements on Tuesday’s passage of S. 744, titled Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Deepa Iyer, NCAPA Chair and Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together:
“We commend the Gang of Eight and the Senate Judiciary Committee for taking up immigration reform and moving legislation to the Senate floor for a vote. At the same time, we have significant concerns with particular aspects of this bill, ranging from stringent enforcement measures to the definition of families. As the floor debate begins, our organizations will be engaging community members and policymakers to raise awareness about these issues.”
Jeff Caballero, Executive Director, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations:
“We are so pleased that the bill that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee includes Senator Mazie Hirono’s (D-HI) amendment to extend health care for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants, fixing a mistake from 1996. As the debate moves to the floor, we hope that barriers to health care will be lifted for immigrants so that they can participate in the full range of health care programs available to other tax-paying members of our society and that visa options will be extended to all family members.”
Gregory Cendana, Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO:
“While we commend the passage of some amendments on worker protections, including labor recruitment regulations, we are extremely concerned with the last minute increase of high-skilled visas without protective measures. Tech companies can displace American workers and then pay H1-B visa holders at a lower wage. Real commonsense reform should be transparent and uphold protections for all workers — instead of allowing profitable loopholes.”
|Ben de Guzman, Co-director for Programs, National Queer Asian Pacific Alliance: “This historic legislation is now moving forward, but still includes insufficiently narrow definitions of family. The failure to act on provisions to include same sex bi-national couples in the family immigration system is particularly difficult to bear, especially given the strong support our organizations have shown for LGBT families in our communities. Sen. Hirono’s amendments to improve the family immigration system that were not passed tell us that we must ramp up the fight for a broad and inclusive definition of family in this immigration bill.”Tom Hayashi, Executive Director, OCA:
“We are pleased and applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for advancing common sense immigration reforms. However, our community must remain vigilant in advocating for inclusion of the family reunification provisions. As a national membership driven organization which directly engages lay advocates coast-to-coast on this critical issue, we will continue to fight for a family based immigration system that is fair and humane to all aspiring Americans. We would like to thank Sen. Hirono for her tireless efforts in representing the Asian Pacific American community and standing firm on strengthening the bill to reflect the fundamental value of intact families being the backbone of America.”
Mee Moua, President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center:
“We want to acknowledge this key moment in our progress to achieving a commonsense solution for immigrants nationwide. We thank Sen. Hirono for standing with the millions of families awaiting family reunification and applaud her for the passage of her amendment to reunite Filipino World War II veterans with their children. We are disappointed that the Senate Judiciary committee refused to adopt an amendment that would have alleviated the extreme hardships some families experience due to prolonged separation, but look forward to working with both the House and Senate on a solution that includes all families.”
Doua Thor, executive director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center:
“We thank Senator Patrick Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for his strong leadership and his principled and passionate defense of human rights and due process. SEARAC will continue to educate policymakers about the effects of harsh deportation and detention policies on our communities, including green card holders and those who entered this country as refugees. This historic opportunity to bring these policies in line with principles of justice and fairness for all immigrants should not be missed.”
Miriam Yeung, executive director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum:
“Last night’s conclusion of the Senate Judiciary Committee debate on the bi-partisan bill S. 744 brought immigration policy reform one step closer to reality. We commend the Gang of Eight senators for moving this important legislation forward and rejecting scores of poison-pill amendments aimed to derail the roadmap to citizenship. The bill left the committee with positive provisions that recognize the contributions of millions of aspiring citizens, the majority of whom are women, including provisions for survivors of domestic violence. It did not, however, include provisions to give aspiring citizens health equity or LGBT couples respect. As the bill moves to the Senate floor for a full vote, NAPAWF will remain engaged with policy makers and continue to mobilize to ensure that the final bill keeps all families together, protects the health and well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islander women, and provides an attainable process for citizenship as we move forward.”
Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon, executive director, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium:
“Today’s passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill from the Senate Judiciary Committee is a promising sign that we may see a new law passed this year. We welcome this milestone. In the spirit of bipartisanship, the Senate Judiciary Committee has stopped bad amendments and added good amendments as they worked to pass comprehensive immigration reform. However, we are also concerned that the Senate bill is eliminating the rights of U.S. citizens to sponsor their siblings and older adult children. The family members of U.S. citizens might be separated forever just because they don’t have high skills or higher education degrees. Separating loved ones is not the American way of family immigration. For some community members, a brother or sister is the only family they have. Family unity allows our community to grow and thrive. NAKASEC will continue to mobilize and advocate for critical amendments such as the preservation of the family immigration system and to ensure that the path to citizenship is as affordable as possible and provides access to public benefits to all hard working, taxpaying immigrants.”
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of 30 national Asian Pacific American organizations. Based in Washington D.C, NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) community and to provide a national voice on policy issues and priorities.