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National Asian American & Pacific Islander Leaders Call on Congress to Stand With Families on Commonsense Immigration Reform

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The following is a press release from the Asian American Justice Center, which worked with a coalition of other groups on this week’s National AAPI Day of Action for Immigration Reform:

Wednesday, national Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders rallied for the Stand With Families: National AAPI Day of Action for Immigration Reform on the East Lawn of the Capitol to urge Congress to pass immigration reform that includes all families. The U.S. Senate is set to begin debating S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, which limits family reunification for some families.

Speaking out for families were Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif. 27th) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill. 9th), and leading advocates, Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, along with national AAPI leaders.

“Family immigration is a top priority for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and a cornerstone of our current immigration system. While we were disappointed to see the family categories of married adult children and brothers and sisters put on the chopping block, we want to thank our champions in Congress for their efforts to strengthen the family system,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. “Today’s events are a great demonstration of AAPIs standing up for our families and ensuring that our priorities are reflected in the legislative processes currently underway in the House and the Senate.”

The attendees also heard from AAPI families who have experienced the family immigration system. Randy Kim from Chicago, Ill., spoke about his father’s struggle to reunite with his siblings after escaping the Vietnam War and the Cambodian genocide.

“When the Cambodian Killing Field era began, my dad and uncle escaped to Thailand and migrated to the U.S.,” said Kim. “They eventually sponsored my Uncle Sean and with their help he was able to settle and become a hardworking citizen. However, when Uncle Sean tried to sponsor their remaining siblings, they never made it. This was after 20 years of wasted money, endless run around and no answer.”

Prior to the rally, families and advocates met with congressional staff in 37 offices and delivered information packets to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate, including “Dear Congress” letters from families in 27 states. Click here to view the letters.