WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 20, 2015) — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) on Friday released the following statements to recognize the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s immigration executive action announcement:
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“President Obama’s announcement one-year ago today held historic significance for millions of immigrant families, including thousands of Asians and Pacific Islanders who were expected to benefit from the expansion of the already successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the creation of a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. I urge the Supreme Court to resolve ongoing litigation surrounding these programs and bring relief to millions of aspiring Americans. Keeping families together and letting undocumented immigrants work is essential for strong communities and a strong economy.
“In Congress, my CAPAC colleagues and I remain committed to passing commonsense legislation to fix our broken immigration system.”
Senator Mazie K. Hirono:
“A year after President Obama’s courageous announcement that he would expand the DACA and DAPA programs, five million individuals who would have qualified for these programs remain in the shadows. Politically-motivated attacks against immigrants omit the facts that the vast majority are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will find the President’s actions lawful, and that justice for millions of workers and families will eventually be served.”
Congressman Michael Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair:
“Today, we celebrate the one-year mark of the President’s landmark actions on immigration, which aim to make the immigration system more humane and fair. While we continue to await the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to take up DACA and DAPA, we must continue to call on the President to follow through on all the promises he made a year ago. We must recognize that those executive actions were a good first step, but only a first step towards real, lasting immigration reform that is needed in our country.
“As the representative of the only majority-AAPI district in the continental United States and the diverse communities of Silicon Valley, I hear every day the struggles people are facing, all the while enriching our community and contributing to our economy. The Administration should follow its enforcement priorities to keep families together, increase job flexibility for high-skilled workers waiting for their green cards, and strengthen the waiver process to help people who must leave the country to apply for their green cards reenter the United States. In this next year, I hope the Administration will take bold actions to end the inhumane use of immigrant detention, provide fair treatment and due process to refugees and asylum seekers, and facilitate immigrant contributions to our economy.”
Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-34):
“One year ago, President Obama took action in the face of Congress’s failure to reform our broken immigration system. Unfortunately, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal issued a ruling that continues to block the implementation of these vital programs. Our security, our economy and so many anticipating families are paying the price for this delay. At a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric from my Republican colleagues dominates the airwaves, Congress should be working to pass a commonsense fix to our broken immigration system.”
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08):
“Our limited resources should prioritize detaining and deporting dangerous criminals that pose a risk to all Americans, not deporting parents and Dreamers who grew up in America and contribute to the enrichment and productivity of our nation. While I am disappointed with the Fifth Circuit’s roadblocks in the path toward that goal, I am encouraged by today’s anniversary of the President’s action to promote a humane immigration policy that prioritizes national security. I hope the Supreme Court quickly takes up the Fifth Circuit’s decision and helps restore American values and show compassion for those seeking a better life.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):
“One year ago, I hailed President Obama’s executive actions as a broad and bold step to improve the nation’s broken immigration system. While I still applaud it, it is extremely disappointing that this critical initiative remains tied up in the courts. Families continue to be separated, people continue to live in the shadows and progress on immigration reform is virtually non-existent. DAPA and DACA are incredibly important because they help keep families together. Families should not have to live in constant fear of deportation. As President Obama has said time and time again, we are and always have been a nation of immigrants. As the daughter of immigrants, I sincerely hope that the President’s executive actions on immigration eventually see the light of day. We must continue to do whatever we can to fix our broken immigration system.”
Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41):
“A year ago today, President Obama cleared a path for five million people living in America to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation. That path was soon blocked by Republican Governors and Attorneys General who are unmoved by the prospect of separating families. While we await our day in the Supreme Court, I will continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens our economy and demonstrates the compassion that has made this country a source of hope around the world.
“Families in the AAPI community and others across the country are eagerly awaiting the chance to be full participants in our society. I look forward to the day that we remove the shadow of deportation and finally allow them to step into the light.”
Joseph Crowley (NY-14):
“In the absence of action by Republicans in Congress, President Obama took decisive steps to help American families stay together and American communities stay strong. When opponents try to stop these programs – when they file lawsuits, and hold up funding bills over it – they’re really stopping families from being able to live their lives. There is no question that the President’s actions are important, but there is nothing that can take the place of a comprehensive immigration reform package from Congress. Democrats have been willing to work in a constructive, bipartisan way and I hope that we’ll see our counterparts finally be willing to step up and do what needs to be done. Every day without a solution is a day that hurts us as a nation.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10):
“One year ago today, President Obama took much needed action to make our immigration system more secure and more compassionate. Despite the President’s authority to do so, Republicans who oppose immigration reform have taken every opportunity to block his efforts, including filing a politically motivated lawsuit. Today, millions of American families remain at risk of being torn apart by a broken immigration system. The need for reform has never been stronger.”
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):
“Today marks one year since the President took necessary executive action to begin to fix our broken immigration system. The President’s executive action would allow millions of families and children who are law-abiding, contributing members of our communities who live in constant fear of deportation, to come out of the shadows. I stand firm in my belief that the President’s actions are desperately needed and well within the confines of his executive authority. The Administration has requested that the Supreme Court hear arguments for and rule on this important issue. The continued delay of this critical action continues to ignore the glaring need for immigration reform. Without action to fix immigration enforcement and laws, families and communities across the country will continue to be ripped apart.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.