APALC Urges Fil-Ams to Join ‘Tell Congress’ Campaign AA leaders want community to share immigration stories
May 29, 2007
LOS ANGELES – Asian American groups are urging community members to share their personal immigration stories in a “Tell Congress” campaign to boycott the new provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced last May 18.
If passed into law, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, officially known as SB. 1348, will change the country’s immigrant future, according to a press release from the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC).
Now that Asian American groups had a chance to review the provisions in the nearly 1,000-page bill, they are asking the community to help make their case to Washington officials about how the provisions will negatively affect the Asian American community.
Last May 23 at the APALC headquarters, APALC, along with other Asian American leaders, held a press conference discussing the importance of the “Tell Congress” campaign and criticizing the provisions of SB 1348.
APALC is denouncing the following provisions: the bill’s elimination of family-based migration in favor of a merit-based point system; the guest worker program in which future “temporary” workers cannot gain a path to citizenship; and clearing the backlogs within eight years for petitions filed before May 1, 2005, but eliminating the 800,000 petitions filed after May 1, 2005. Petitioners after May 2005 will have to go through the new “merit-based point system” for a path to legalization.
“The elimination of family immigration will undermine the fundamental American belief in family values shared among Democrats and Republicans, and Asian, Latino and African immigrant communities alike,” said Dan Huang, immigration policy advocate at APALC.
“The other proposed changes also raise significant concerns, such as the creation of a temporary worker program with no chance for citizenship and the shift to a point-based system that fails to value families,” he added.
The Senate bill disproportionately impacts Asian Americans by eliminating most of the family immigration system that has aided the rapid growth of Asian American communities over the past 40 years, said Stewart Kwoh, executive director of APALC.
For Fil-Ams, since 73 percent of immigrants from the Philippines have been able to come to the US through family immigration, the bill would mean that children over the age of 21, brothers, sisters and possibly parents can no longer be petitioned.
The Senate and the White House has said that an immigration deal must be reached this year. The Senate has, and will continue to debate on, certain provisions and make amendments to the bill.
Until the bill is passed, APALC along with other Asian American groups, are encouraging community members to join the “Tell Congress” campaign by sharing their personal immigration stories and calling their state senators.
APALC is partnering with organizations, including the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Pilipino Worker Center, and many others.
“We will collect stories and pass them on to Senators and Representatives,” said Sara Sadhwani, immigrant rights project director at APALC. “Members of Congress need to hear stories about the strength and importance of families in the immigrant experience, and how a family-based immigration policy has contributed to our nation’s economic, political and cultural arenas.”
The groups said they are looking for a broad range of immigration stories, including those that highlight immigrant hardships, as well as immigrant success stories.
Specifically, they are looking for: US citizens who have applied to sponsor a child over 21, brother or sister to immigrate to the U.S. since May 2005; individuals who are sponsoring, plan to sponsor, or have sponsored parents to immigrate to the US; individuals who have experienced immigration detention; small business owners who would have trouble implementing an electronic employee verification system; and individuals with temporary worker visas who have had difficulty obtaining a green card.
According to APALC’s press release, “Tell them that comprehensive immigration reform needs to put families first!”
For more information about the campaign, contact APALC at 213-241-0237. (www.asianjournal.com))