WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 13, 2014) — Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) called on President Obama to take executive action this year that would halt deportations, keep families together, and reduce visa backlogs. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The President must act now and prioritize family unity. Our communities need executive action that ends long separations of families currently stuck in visa backlogs, protects the parents of DREAMers, and expands work authorization to broad sectors of aspiring Americans,” said Rep. Chu. “These are bold and legal options the President can take to quickly end the pain and fear of separation in immigrant communities and make it clear that America puts families first.
“I urge the President to provide discretionary relief from deportation and expand already existing legal avenues of protection,” continued Rep. Chu. “First, the President should expand deferred action to families and workers who have been contributing to our communities. Second, the President should make administrative changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by expanding DACA to include youngsters who entered the U.S. before age 16 and changing the residency requirement to allow even more young aspiring Americans to gain protection. Third, we can improve current legal avenues to gain immigration status, like allowing for a broader interpretation of “extreme hardship” that takes into account family separation, and allowing family members of legal permanent residents to apply for unlawful presence waivers.”
Earlier this year, Rep. Chu, through her role as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), met with the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, and White House aides, Cecilia Munoz and Neil Eggleston, to discuss the need to prioritize families in immigration reform. She proposed legal actions President Obama can take to keep families together. This is a problem disproportionally felt by the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community, who account for 40% of the 4.2 million individuals waiting for a family immigration visa and over 80% of the employer based visa backlog.
The CAPAC recommendations on executive action to Secretary Jeh Johnson can be found here.