Today, members of the Senate Gang of Eight -- the bipartisan group of Senators negotiating comprehensive immigration reform -- released their plan to reform our antiquated immigration system. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:
"The time to fix our broken immigration system is now, and today's proposal is the first substantive step toward effecting real change. It represents the best chance in a generation to help aspiring Americans fulfill their dreams of becoming our fellow citizens.
"I commend the Gang of Eight for welcoming my views throughout this process. Their inclusion of my bill -- the POWER Act -- will help ensure immigrant workers we welcome into this country will be protected from abusive employers. The provisions on high-skilled workers will allow the brightest minds from around the world to create jobs right here in America. And of course, the inclusions of a pathway to citizenship and a solution for DREAMers are both very promising components of this bill.
"I am also pleased at the consideration taken to meet the concerns of immigrant communities. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I made clear that our immigration backlogs must be addressed, and this bill would clear them within eight years. We called for a legal permanent resident provision, allowing the family members of green card holders to come here without delay, and this bill provides one. And when we called on the Senate negotiators directly to ensure parents maintain the right to bring their children here, they modified the bill accordingly.
"However, with any compromise, important provisions are lost in negotiations. This package is weakened by the fact that it eliminates sibling-based visas. Equally concerning is the exclusion of the LGBT community from all family reunification provisions within the bill. So while this bill is a promising first step, it is clear that there is still much work to be done before we arrive at a final product. I look forward to examining the Senate proposal in greater detail and working with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to create the strongest possible immigration reform package in the weeks ahead."
Rep. Chu has been an outspoken advocate for comprehensive immigration reform throughout her time in public office. Most recently, in her capacity as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), she has pushed hard to protect family-based visas in immigration reform. Following reports that family-based visas were being targeted by Republicans negotiators for elimination, Chu sent a letter to each Senator in the bipartisan "Gang of Eight." Her outreach continued with phone calls to each Senate office and ultimately, direct discussions with Majority Leader Reid.