Immigration Proposal Threatens to Divide Families

By Guest Columnist Apr 12, 2007

by Deepa Iyer Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of one of the largest nationwide rallies – when immigrants marched in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and D.C. to call for humane reform in immigration laws. One year later, where is the immigration reform debate going? While a bipartisan immigration reform bill called the STRIVE Act is pending in the House of Representatives, a haphazard proposal drafted by the White House is stirring opposition. This proposal would dramatically alter family-based immigration in this country that allows individuals to petition to bring their children, parents, spouses, and siblings over and convey their residency status. The plan’s most worrisome features include the elimination of certain family-based visa categories – making it impossible to petition for relatives outside the States, and a revamped green card application process, which would come with a $10,000 price tag. The plan also allows temporary workers to come and work in America for a maximum of six years, but prevents them from bringing family members. Asian American organizations have expressed outrage with the White House plan’s proposed disintegration of the family-based immigration system. Family unity is a cornerstone for immigrant survival, and any attempts to limit family cohesion would have a devastating impact on immigrants in the US. Luckily, the struggle for immigration reform on the ground isn’t showing signs of weakening. On April 30, and May 1, Asian Americans will storm D.C. for a national mobilization to jumpstart Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with a call for immigration reform. We’re prepared to go the distance to bring about meaningful change in the lives of immigrants and for America as a whole. You can call the White House this week—202-456-1111— to register your discontent with the plan and to call for fair and humane immigration reform. Deepa Iyer, Executive Director, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT)