WASHINGTON — The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 31 national Asian Pacific American organizations, on Thursday called for congressional leaders to refocus their efforts on running the country by taking up the issue of immigration reform.
“We are pleased that the government is back in business and agree with President Barack Obama that immigration reform is a top priority,” said Deepa Iyer, NCAPA chair and executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs)–the country’s fastest-growing racial group–have engaged in demonstrations and rallies, meetings and forums around the country to call for immigration reform. NCAPA leadership has met with administration officials and members of Congress, including the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, to urge them to engage on immigration issues ranging from family reunification to a path for citizenship to worker protections.”
Three in five AAPIs are foreign born–the highest proportion of any racial group. Nearly half of those waiting to receive visas through the family-based system are relatives of Asians, including Filipinos, Chinese and Indians. In addition, more than 1 million undocumented immigrants are AAPIs, including many young students or DREAMers. Earlier this month, Gregory Cendana, NCAPA executive committee member and executive director of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, was among 200 immigrant, civil rights, labor and faith leaders who took part in a coordinated civil disobedience effort to illustrate the broad base of support for immediately fixing our broken immigration system. The civil disobedience followed mass mobilizations in more than 160 cities. “Our movement will not end until Congress passes immigration reform this year,” Cendana said. “It is time our elected leaders hear our united voice and implement an inclusive immigration process that will be best for all communities.”