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Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 6, 2007

Written by C.N.

Debating Fairness for Asian Americans in Immigration Reform

Following up on my earlier post about how the proposed immigration reforms would significantly hurt Asian Americans and their families by sharply reducing the number of visas given to family members and relatives, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has issued the following statement on ways to amend the current proposals that would ensure fairness to Asian Americans:

This week, as the Senate continues the debate on the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) urges the Senate to take special notice of several amendments that will critically affect the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. . . . CAPAC supports the Clinton-Hagel-Menendez amendment, the Menendez-Hagel amendment, the Dodd amendment, and the Obama-Menendez amendment.

  • The Clinton-Hagel-Menendez amendment would amend the “immediate relative” category for family-visa petitions to include minor children and spouses of legal permanent residents (LPRs). This amendment would promote family reunification among LPRs who have played by the rules and are waiting patiently in line to reunite with their loved ones.
  • The Menendez-Hagel amendment would ensure fairness for U.S. citizens and their families. The current Senate immigration bill contains a provision that would address the current family backlog for green card applications, but only for those who applied before May 1, 2005. Applications filed by U.S. citizens to sponsor their family members after this cut-off date – an estimated 833,000 – would be nullified. The amendment would change this “cut off” date from May 1, 2005 to January 1, 2007. It would also add 110,000 green cards a year to ensure a meaningful backlog reduction.
  • The Dodd amendment would honor the bond between U.S. citizens and their parents by increasing the green card cap to 90,000 for parents, extending the duration of the parent visa, and ensuring that penalties imposed on overstays are not unfairly applied. Without this amendment, the proposed legislation would remove parents from the “immediate relatives” category, subjects them to an annual cap of 40,000 green cards, and creates a new parent visitor visa category that would allow them to stay in the United States for only 30 days.
  • The Obama-Menendez amendment would sunset the merit-based point system after five years. The point system as it stands is a substantial departure from the guiding principles of current immigration law. Particularly, the point system disproportionately favors those with higher education, and fails to adequately account for one of the touchstones of American immigration policy: family reunification. This amendment would provide Congress the opportunity to reevaluate the point system in five years.

Among the amendments that CAPAC opposes are the Cornyn amendments, the Inhofe amendment, and the Coleman-Bond amendment.

  • The Cornyn amendments would gut the immigration bill by making millions of undocumented immigrants ineligible for legalization. These amendments would undercut our nation’s principles of fairness and due process, and critically undermine the already scant due process protections available to immigrants, in an atmosphere that is already anti-immigrant.
  • The Inhofe amendment would declare English the national language and restrict the ability of the government to communicate effectively with American citizens, immigrants, and visitors.
  • The Coleman-Bond would task city and county officials, public health providers, and police and public safety personnel with the responsibility of enforcing federal immigration laws. This amendment would keep cities, public health officials, and police departments from deciding how to best protect and serve their communities.

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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Debating Fairness for Asian Americans in Immigration Reform" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/06/debating-fairness-for-asian-americans-in-immigration-reform/> ().

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