Ms. GABBARD. I rise today to highlight some of the unique immigration challenges that we face. The good news is that Washington is finally focused on fixing this very complex issue. Comprehensive reform is crucial to our families, young people, and our economy.
In Hawaii, for example, Filipino families often wait up to 24 years to reunite with their loved ones. We are a community of immigrants--immigrants who came to Hawaii who were seeking greater opportunity, who toiled day in and day out working in our pineapple fields and on our sugar plantations; yet many are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones. This is unacceptable and unnecessary. It also hurts our economy when small businesses face unnecessary, draconian audits and automatic labeling as fraudulent businesses simply due to their sizes, stifling their ability to grow and create jobs.
We must address these unique immigration issues in Hawaii, across the Pacific, and across the country as part of our national reform legislation in order to reunite families and grow our economy.