Asian caucus makes immigration reform recommendations

As the debate over immigration reform continues, politicians on both sides of the aisle are weighing in. Most recently, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) has released its own set of recommendations.

Led by Rep. Judy Chu, D-California, the caucus’ suggestions are particularly pertinent, as more than 10.6 million Asian immigrants currently reside in the U.S. In addition, according to the memo released by CAPAC, Asians have recently become the largest demographic of new immigrants to the U.S. The caucus’ immigration reform recommendations place a priority on keeping families together, and CAPAC thinks this can be achieved by expanding deferred action.

As it currently stands, the Obama administration’s deferred action program allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to continue to work and live in the country without fear of deportation. CAPAC would like to see an expansion of this program to include the spouses, parents and siblings of U.S. citizens, legal residents and deferred-action recipients.

Expanding deferred action would positively affect millions of families residing in the U.S., as approximately 5.1 million children (4 million of whom are citizens) living in the U.S. are members of mixed legal status families.

CAPAC also made several recommendations regarding the enforcement of immigration policies. In particular, the caucus would like to see an expansion of the provisional unlawful presence waiver. This would further serve CAPAC’s goal of preserving family unity, as it would allow more immigrants to apply for waivers while they are residing in the U.S. The caucus is also recommending that the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents be allowed to apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers.

Although immigration reform appears to be stalled in the House of Representatives, the Obama administration will be reviewing its deportation policies to see if improvements can be made. Chu said CAPAC released its recommendations at this critical time with hopes that it can positively influence the administration’s decision.