May 23, 2007
Written by C.N.
As you may have heard by now, earlier this week, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced an immigration reform proposal that would significantly overhaul the current immigration guidelines. Much of the media’ attention on this proposal has focused on how the new guidelines would affect the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Unfortunately, much less attention has been given to how this proposal would impact Asian Americans.
As the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) argues, it turns out that the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 will, among many things, will no longer allow American citizens to sponsor any child over 21 years of age, terminate the ability of citizens to sponsor their siblings, and ultimately cut the immigration visa quota for parents by half. In other words, the proposed bill would radically shift the current preference system for family reunification toward one based on education and job skills. As Rep. Mike Honda, Chair of the CAPAC argues,
The proposal would undermine this nation’s long tradition of family-based immigration by eliminating several family-based categories. The proposed points system would fail to adequately account for the economic contributions made by family members, who rely on one another to start and run businesses, purchase homes, and send children to college. They provide care for young children, the sick, and elderly.
Rep. Honda’s assertions are consistently backed up by social science research that shows how the presence of family members and relatives have a significantly positive effect on socioeconomic mobility and structural assimilation for immigrants in general, but particularly for Asian immigrants.
Not only do they provide the psychological support network necessary to aid in the process of adjusting to American society, but family members and relatives also provide material support in terms of loaning money, sharing information on available jobs, housing, and social services, labor to help run small businesses, and providing childcare that allows parents to work and increase their education, to name just a few benefits.
In this context, proposals that would severely curtail the family reunification preferences are unfortunately short-sighted and ultimately disastrous in terms of promoting assimilation and socioeconomic integration into American society, which I presume is one of the goals of any legitimate immigration legislation.
While I applaud the Senate for their bipartisan efforts to compromise on this immigration reform proposal (something quite rare these days), in its current form, I cannot support this proposal. If you or your family have also benefited from the advise, assistance, or presence of family members or relatives, I urge you to also tell Congress that they can do better than this.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Effects of Immigration Reform Proposal on Asian Americans" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/05/effects-of-immigration-reform-proposal-on-asian-americans/> ().
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