Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) praised President Obamaâ€™s announcement today that he will take executive action to immediately protect millions of immigrant families from deportation and take steps to improve our broken immigration system. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
â€œThis is a day of historic significance for millions of immigrant families. For over a year, I have urged the House Republican Leadership to bring a comprehensive immigration bill to a vote, and they failed to do so. In the absence of their inaction, we have turned to President Obama and asked him to take immediate action to provide relief. Todayâ€™s announcement does just that,â€ said Rep Chu. â€œAmerica depends on immigrants who go to school, work hard, lay roots in our communities, and who dedicate their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit towards achieving the American Dream. We should be rewarding aspiring Americans, not deporting them.
â€œToday marks the day where millions of children who are citizens or have legal status will no longer fear coming home to discover that their parents have been deported,â€ said Rep. Chu. â€œI applaud the President for doing what is morally right and fair by providing peace of mind for families who have been living and contributing to our communities for so many years.â€
â€œOf course, this is the first step towards fixing our broken immigration system. A permanent solution will only come when Congress acts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. I remain committed to working across the aisle on legislation that will go even further to keep families together and secure our border.â€
Expanding deferred action to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will impact more than 4 million individuals. The Administration will also expand the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) to include more young people who were brought to this country as children. It will not matter how old they are today as long as they satisfy a certain residence requirement. This change is expected to impact 300,000 people nationally.
Overall, the Presidentâ€™s executive action package is expected to benefit nearly 5 million individuals. It includes long overdue improvements to our immigration system, such as narrowing our immigration enforcement priorities to focus on serious criminals and national security threats. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also issue new guidance and regulations to reduce family separation for those waiting to obtain their green cards. DHSâ€™s actions would expand unlawful presence waivers to those who are statutorily eligible and broaden the â€œextreme hardshipâ€ standard.
Over the past year, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) has met with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and senior White House aides, Cecilia Munoz and Neil Eggleston, to discuss the need to prioritize family in immigration reform. Asians and Pacific Islanders account for over 40% of the 4.2 million individuals caught in the current family immigration visa backlogs and over 80% of those in the employer-based visa backlogs. Last night, Rep. Chu attended a dinner with Congressional leaders and President Obama where she raised the API communityâ€™s immigration priorities. The Presidentâ€™s executive action is expected to protect over one million undocumented Asian Pacific Islander individuals currently living in the U.S.
The CAPAC recommendations on executive action to Secretary Jeh Johnson can be found here.
A Congressional letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson led by Rep. Chu on immigrant worker protections can be found here. The accompanying recommendations on worker protections can be found here.