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Washington Bureau-6, April 2007, Bush Immigrant Plan Draws Fire Outcry Among Asian-American Leaders

By April 6, 2007No Comments

News Column:

Bush Immigrant Plan Draws Fire Outcry Among Asian-American Leaders
April 6, 2007
Lisa Friedman — Washington Bureau
Asian-American leaders blasted President George W. Bush’s newest immigration reform plan Wednesday, accusing the White House of tearing families apart with a guest-worker program that prohibits foreigners from bringing family to the U.S.

The outcry is part of a mobilization of immigrant-rights groups gearing up to oppose the plan hashed out by the administration and a handful of Republican senators.

Under the plan, illegal immigrants would pay $3,500 for a new Z work visa, and pay the same amount to renew it every three years.

To apply for a green card, an illegal immigrant would have to leave the country, apply at a U.S. embassy and pay a $10,000 fine.

It also would become harder for legal immigrants to bring siblings and parents into the U.S., and new temporary foreign workers would be unable to bring their families.

“If the White House proposal becomes reality, it will be nearly the same as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882,” said Michael Lin, executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans.

The first significant law restricting immigration into the U.S., the Chinese Exclusion Act put a 10-year moratorium on Chinese immigration and placed new restrictions on those who had already entered the country.

“It’s hard to believe the White House is contemplating anti-family measures as part of immigration reform,” Lin said, charging the proposal would make it nearly impossible for legal immigrants to sponsor family members for immigration.

A White House spokeswoman referred calls about the plan to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not return calls.

Eun Sook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium in Los Angeles, called the plan unacceptable.

“The White House secret plan is anti-worker and anti-family,” she said.

Filipino, Southeast Asian and Vietnamese activists also joined in the attack. One advocate noted that in the case of Vietnamese immigrants, many came as refugees and have waited years to be reunited with family members.

“This would undermine Asian-American communities,” said Karen Narasaki, president of the Asian American Justice Center.

Source: (C) 2007 Los Angeles Daily News. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved