WASHINGTON D.C. (Feb. 14, 2013) — U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Immigration Taskforce Chair introduced the Reuniting Families Act in the House of Representatives. The bill helps ensure that visas are allocated efficiently, while alleviating lengthy wait times that keep legal immigrants, and their loved ones overseas, separated for years. It also eliminates discrimination in immigration law against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans and their foreign-born partners.
“As the largest group of new immigrants and the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders must be heard during immigration reform,” said Rep Judy Chu (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “A solution that fails to address backlogs and continues to keep families separated is no solution at all. We must recapture unused visas being lost to bureaucratic red tape, we must set maximum waiting periods to no more than 10 years, and we must recognize the undue pain being caused every day that we do not act on these issues. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am determined to ensure the needs of the AAPI community are met as we address this national imperative.”
“Our family-based immigration system has not been updated in 20 years, separating spouses, children and their parents, who have played by the rules for years,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Chair of CAPAC’s Immigration Taskforce. “My proposed legislation is in line with American family values and with our need to grow our economy and save taxpayer money. American workers with families by their side are happier, healthier and more able to succeed than those distanced from loved ones for years on end. Our country deserves an immigration system that honors and supports key family values, like keeping families intact. The Reuniting Families Act represents a giant step forward in that commitment and provides a blueprint that respects families, strengthens our economy and fixes a badly broken system. I urge Congress to forge comprehensive immigration reform. For every day Congress delays, more families face separation.”
There are currently 4.3 million people in the family immigration backlog waiting to reunite with family members in the United States. The Reuniting Families Act reduces the backlog for families trying to reunite with their loved ones by classifying lawful permanent resident spouses and children as “immediate relatives” and exempting them from numerical caps on family immigration. This legislation sets the maximum wait period for a green card to 10 years, as well as increases per-country limits to 15% so that nations with a higher demand for workers can better equip the American economy with talent.
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.