Last week, President Barack Obama delivered remarks in Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
"I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long." President Obama said. "I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity.”
President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
In response to the President’s remarks, a number of organizations that advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the nation issued statements applauding the President for his leadership. Here are a few of those statements:
“Today, API Equality-LA, a grassroots coalition advancing LGBT civil rights in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, applauds President Obama’s newly released principles on comprehensive immigration reform that include a pathway to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants and enhanced family reunification provisions, including eliminating existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system, raising annual country caps, and giving binational couples the ability to apply for permanent residency.”
“The Asian American Institute, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice welcomes President Obama's urgent remarks on comprehensive immigration reform, and looks forward to seeing the specific details of the proposal and unfolding debate.”
“AAI is especially pleased to hear the President address family reunification and protection for a legal pathway to citizenship in his remarks as key issues in reform, because both represent some of the most pressing concerns around immigration for the Asian American community. The bipartisan Senate framework, along with the president’s remarks, represents important first steps in continuing this conversation.”
“Today President Barack Obama unveiled his plan for commonsense immigration reform. In reiterating his commitment to fix our broken immigration system, he outlined four general themes: update our antiquated immigration system to keep families together, strengthen border security, hold employers accountable for unfair practices and create a roadmap for citizenship.
The president's plan reflects the American values of fairness, diversity and opportunity, which he extolled in his inauguration speech. The Asian American Justice Center, a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, applauds the president's announcement.”
“Today, President Obama endorsed several provisions of comprehensive "common-sense" immigration reform offered yesterday by a bipartisan group of eight senators. We commend the President and members of the Senate for taking action to fix our broken immigration system.
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) supports immigration reforms that strengthen family reunification, provide a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States, and protect the rights of all workers.”
“The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO thanks President Obama for making immigration a priority in his 2nd term. Today marked another step forward with the President’s re-affirmed commitment to an issue that impacts the Asian Pacific American community. A viable pathway to citizenship not tied to increased enforcement, better protection for workers, reuniting all families, and ending discrimination against same-sex bi-national couples are important to our country’s progress.”
“The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, is pleased with this week’s announcements by President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of 8” proclaiming that immigration reform is a national policy priority. The commitment of our nation’s leadership to fixing the broken U.S. immigration system is heartening for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) – a community that is approximately 60% immigrant and the fastest growing racial group in the United States.”
"APIAHF applauds President Obama for taking a strong stance to overhaul our broken immigration system. For far too long, our immigration laws have been a black eye on the values we hold dear in America—equality and justice.
President Obama’s renewed push for commonsense immigration policies and the Senate’s bipartisan framework are an important step in the right direction. Now the door is open for Congress to make the necessary changes to our immigration laws that unite families, provide a pathway to citizenship for aspiring citizens and promote full integration.”
“The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) applauds President Obama’s remarks today to fix the nation’s immigration system.
We are pleased that the administration and Congress are taking positive first steps to tackle a crucial issue affecting many of our country’s new American immigrants. We know that essential details still need to be fleshed out, but we are encouraged by this bipartisan move toward an immigration system that creates a path to citizenship for aspiring new Americans already contributing to the growth and prosperity of this country.”
“In light of the frameworks set forth by President Obama today and the bi-partisan group of Senators yesterday, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 30 national Asian Pacific American organizations, welcomes a robust dialogue on immigration policy reform.
The statements from President Obama and the bi-partisan group of Senators this week give us hope that immigration policy reform will soon become a reality. Our community members are deeply affected by every facet of our nation's immigration laws and enforcement practices. Our communities also have sent the message that changes in immigration policy are critical in uniting families, accessing employment, education and health care, and living without fear of detention and deportation.”
“We applaud President Obama for stepping up to show leadership on immigration and taking such a strong stance for the rights of all immigrants and future of our country. We have been fighting to ensure that families do not have to live in fear of constant separation for close to a decade and that families have a way to reunite with loved ones. We know that there is much to do and many details to sort through and we are hopeful with the comments made by the President on the path to legalization and family backlogs. 2013 is the year to pass immigration reform legislation.”
“The Japanese American Citizens League applauds President Obama's plan for comprehensive immigration reform.
This is an issue that hits close to home. In many ways the current state of immigration is not that dissimilar to the barriers that were in place a century ago that enforced xenophobic policies. The President's initiative benefits residents that are already good Americans in every way -- all they lack is citizenship. I commend the President for standing up for a common sense approach to immigration and citizenship.”
“Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Senators released their immigration principles that include many of the proposals the President outlined. This development signals that the Senate stands ready to resolve the issue of immigration reform thoughtfully and with input from a wide variety of stakeholders, breaking through the gridlock that has affected the legislative process. We commend the President and leaders in the Senate for working to fix our immigration system.
KAYA continues to be supportive of immigration reform that strengthens Filipino American families and communities and will closely monitor any future developments on this issue.”
“The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) applauds the positive steps that both the President of the United States and the Senate are taking to prioritize immigration policy reform. The time is now to fix our broken immigration policies.”
“NAPAWF is eager and prepared – as we have been over the years leading up to this moment– to engage in upcoming dialogues with our leaders in Congress as well as the White House.”
“The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) commends the Senate and the President on taking this initial first, bipartisan step. Immigrants’ rights and the need for comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrant communities.”
“This week’s announcements from lawmakers and President Obama have given us hope for the future of South Asian Americans and all immigrants in our nation. We urge the Administration and Congress to continue to work together and pass immigration policy reform that unites our families, provides us with options towards obtaining visas and citizenship, and ends unjust enforcement measures that have affected so many of our community members, especially in the past decade. Only then will we have a system that is just and humane for South Asian Americans, all immigrants, and society as a whole.”
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