WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 27, 2013) — Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), known collectively as the Congressional Tri-Caucus, held a press conference on Capitol Hill to denounce House Republicans’ piecemeal approach to immigration reform.
The press conference coincided with the House Judiciary Committee markup of the SKILLS Visa Act (H.R. 2131), which eliminates vital visa programs, such as Diversity Visas and Sibling Visas, and provides no pathway for undocumented immigrants to earn a place in our society. Other similarly partisan and misguided bills offered by Republicans include the SAFE Act (H.R. 2278), the Agriculture Guest Worker Act (H.R. 1773) and the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772).
Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus released the following statements:
Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “The House GOP’s strategy for immigration reform has been to slow-walk and cherry pick. The SKILLS Visa Act being marked up today, for example, disregards the priorities of each of our caucuses and the Americans we represent. Denying siblings the right to bring their brothers and sisters to this country is no way to improve our immigration system. It will kick countless aspiring Americans out of line who have waited for as long as 24 years for their turn to immigrate here legally. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in good faith to solve our immigration problems, and to stop undercutting the sincere efforts that Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have put forth.”
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), CBC Chair: “I applaud the Senate for moving forward to vote on passage of a comprehensive immigration bill this week. We are one step closer to fixing our broken immigration system and to opening the door to millions of individuals in this country who have been waiting for their opportunity at achieving their version of the American Dream. Comprehensive immigration reform has been necessary and needed for far too long before any real action has been taken.
“Immigration reform is not about closing the doors of opportunity to Americans, or about creating a system where only those who have the means to meet certain requirements are able to immigrate to this country; it is about ensuring there is a fair and equitable process for everyone. If we want to give this country the reform it deserves, we must work together in a bipartisan, thoughtful and deliberate way.
“The Senate has done its part and now it is up to my colleagues in the House of Representatives to do ours. The time is now.”
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), CHC Chair: “Immigration reform is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the interlocking pieces must be put together in order to achieve a solution. Unfortunately Republicans in the House continue to go down the path of doing piecemeal bills that do not address one of the most critical pieces of immigration reform – legalization. The CHC’s principles for immigration ask the Congress to develop a common-sense, comprehensive bill that serves America’s interests, promotes fairness and the rule of law and contributes effectively and meaningfully to our economic well-being. One that provides undocumented immigrants the opportunity to earn citizenship by requiring them to register with the federal government, submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check, learn English and American civics, and pay taxes. The Senate is on the verge of passing a bill that is in line with those principles. The House must follow suit and work together to develop a comprehensive bill.”
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), CHC Immigration Taskforce Chair: “As the Senate prepares for a historic, complete, and bipartisan step forward, the bills we have been offered in the Judiciary Committee could have been written — and in most cases, were written — before November 6th of last year. They don’t reflect the desire of the American people to find a bipartisan solution. Republicans in the House seem determined to be on the wrong side of the immigration issue, the wrong side of law and order, the wrong side of basic fairness and justice, and the wrong side of history.”
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17), CAPAC Immigration Taskforce Co-Chair: “Immigration issues affect each of us, in every corner of our nation. That is why I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to support truly comprehensive immigration reform. Spending time on piecemeal bills that only protect the few over the many undermines the American people; immigration needs to be both inclusive and complete. As a result of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, nearly 36,000 same-sex bi-national couples will now be eligible to apply for green cards on behalf of their spouses. This is just one example of how an immigration policy that includes all kinds of families will lead to a community, society, and economy that is stronger and more equal. As CAPAC Chair Emeritus and Immigration Task Force co-chair, I will continue to fight for immigration reform that is truly comprehensive and humane.”
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS), CAPAC Immigration Taskforce Co-Chair: “Along with members of the Tri-Caucus, I am deeply troubled by what appears to be a piecemeal approach to immigration reform in the House. I am especially concerned by efforts to prevent U.S. citizens from sponsoring family members. Strong families are the bedrock of our nation and family-based immigration should be the cornerstone of any comprehensive immigration reform bill. As we move forward on immigration reform, we should not undermine the many benefits of family-based immigration and we must act responsibly to ensure unification for the families of all U.S. citizens.”
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09), CAPAC Health Taskforce Chair: “It’s time to stop playing politics and to start moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform. We must reject the cynical, divisive, and ultimately unworkable legislation that House Republicans support, and join together to find a positive, practical, and moral solution to our immigration problem. We are a nation of immigrants, and their contributions are a proud part of our heritage. The people who are marching in cities and towns across this nation are only demanding an immigration policy that lives up to that heritage, and the promise of opportunity that our nation has always stood for, and they deserve no less.”
Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04), CBC Immigration Reform Taskforce Co-Chair: “Comprehensive immigration reform is the civil and human rights issue of our time. If we fail to act, families will continue to be torn apart, young students will continue to live in the shadows, and workers will continue to be exploited. Today, we remind our Republican colleagues in the House: piecemeal reform is not sufficient to fix our broken immigration system.”
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.