CAPAC Endorses Biden Immigration Plan

Feb 26, 2021 Issues: Immigration

Washington, D.C. — Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) voted to endorse the bicameral U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, President Biden’s bold, inclusive, and humane framework for the future of the United States immigration system. In addition to creating a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants already here, the U.S. Citizenship Act also helps keep more families together by including language from CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu’s NO BAN Act to end the Muslim Bans and the Reuniting Families Act, which expands access to family and employment visas through which many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) immigrate to the United States. It also includes CAPAC First Vice Chair Grace Meng’s New Deal for New Immigrants Act which promotes naturalization and civic integration and provides funding to encourage more English learning programs and other programs to assist immigrants on the pathway to citizenship. CAPAC Chair Rep. Chu, an original cosponsor of the bill and one of the group of “Closers” designated to shepherd it through, issued the following statement:

“Although immigration is often thought of as only a Latino issue, what many people don’t realize is that 70% of Asian Americans adults are immigrants, and AAPIs account for 16% of the undocumented population in this country, which makes immigration a very important issue to the AAPI community. And one of the areas that is most important to CAPAC and the communities we represent is preserving our legal, family-based immigration system, which is why we are so happy to see it addressed and strengthened in President Biden’s signature immigration reform bill.

“Family immigration allows new immigrants to rely on their parents to help raise their kids while they hold down a job, or helps them find financing through family members to get their business off the ground when a bank says no. And it is why immigrants rely on less government assistance, start businesses in higher numbers, and are more likely to be homeowners than native born individuals. Unfortunately, our immigration system has not been reformed for decades and does not address the current reality of families trying to come to the United States who are caught in our visa backlogs. There are currently over 4 million people in the family immigration backlog waiting to reunite with their loved ones, 40% of whom are AAPIs. But not only that, AAPIs also account for 80% of the employment-based visa backlogs with may waiting decades to reunite with their family members. A sibling of a U.S. citizen from the Philippines must wait 20 years to get a visa. That is unacceptable.

“That is why I am so proud that this bill includes many of CAPAC’s top immigration priorities like allowing for unused visas to be recaptured, eliminating the 3-and 10-year bars that prevent previously undocumented immigrants from applying for visas, and allowing immigrants with approved family sponsorship petitions to join family in the US while waiting for green cards to become available. The bill will also help to provide permanent relief to over 130,000 Asian American Dreamers and 9,000 TPS recipients from Nepal who have been living in limbo.

“From our own experiences, we know that immigration is a net positive for our economy and our country, and we know we all are better off by allowing families to stay together. CAPAC is proud to support this bill.”