Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TAKE ACTION: Family Reunification on the chopping black

So I've been remiss in posting due to other obligations. But I just wanted to post a short update and to urge you to call your Senators now at (202) 224-3121 to support some family reunification-friendly amendments because:

The bill looks like it actually has a greater than 50% chance of getting passed.

What does this mean? Currently, the bill as it stands would not grandfather immigrants in the family backlog who had been sponsored after May 1, 2005. Karen Narasaki of the AAJC says:

The family-based immigration system, said Narasaki, "has been an important, major system for Asian Americans. Of the 10 countries with the most significant backlogs in the family category, seven of them are Asian countries."

Narasaki also said that according to the bill's current language, anyone who applied to sponsor a sibling after
May 1, 2005, would be kicked out of line and into the new point system.

"So, if you actually played by the rules and filed an application, you're being treated worse than if you came illegally two years later….To us, it's a big problem, very unfair," she said."

For all these reasons and the reasons I've written about before, I want this bill to die in the Senate or in the House. But if it goes through as planned, I'd rather have fought to make it less horrible.

AAJC has some of the amendments that would be partial fixes of the many problems of this so-called "grand bargain" immigration compromise, which would really serve to split families and disenfranchise lower income potential immigrants.

Another problem with the bill is that it is set to be revisited FOURTEEN years in the future. That's an entire generation, and immigration patterns change much more quickly than that. Senators Obama and Menendez have an amendment that would change the sunset date to only 5 years until we revisit the issue, which is much more reasonable. Senator Clinton has sponsored an amendment to recategorize immediate spouses and children of legal permanent residents as "immediate family" meaning that they don't have to be a part of the employment points system. ESnator Dodd has sponsored legislation to keep the family immigration cap at 90,000/year as opposed to the 40,000 that the new immigration bill would have.

These are all good amendments, and we should be calling on our Senators to support them, if you live in a blue state or red state, it doesn't matter. Because I don't see the potential impact on Asian American immigrants being written up much in non-California major papers, we need to do the convincing of our representatives. America is still a representative democracy, so get on the phones!

I will be posting a Roll Call of all these amendments when it becomes available because I think everyone should know how his/her senator and presidential candidates are voting on these issues. But don't wait until this crappy bill has already passed to complain -

call the Capitol Switchboard NOW to be directly connected to your Senators: (202) 224-3121.

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