Congresswoman Judy Chu speaking at an Immigration Reform rally in Washington, D.C.
Every day, I hear from families torn apart by our broken immigration system. Passing comprehensive reform is critically important to the long-term security and prosperity of our nation. We must solve this immigration nightmare, so every person in our country can live the American Dream.
Our immigration system is outdated and in need of reform. We have more than 12 million immigrants currently living in the United States without legal status, millions of more close family members waiting abroad to join their loved ones through the family-based immigration system, and the ongoing detention and deportation of our community members. Businesses and farmers aren’t getting access to the workers they need to stay competitive, which hurts our economy.
I fought hard to get on the Judiciary Committee when I was elected to Congress, which has oversight over all immigration issues. Now as a Judiciary Committee member, I am working to ensure proper oversight of immigration related agencies, fighting policies that hurt families and businesses, and advocating for legislation to reform our broken system.
Here’s how I’m fighting for a better and more humane immigration system:
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Ending Illegal Immigration
During the 111th Congress, I was an original cosponsor of the CIR ASAP Act (H.R. 4321) to completely and permanently reform our immigration system so it works. The bill includes the following measures:
• Pathway to Earned Citizenship if residents complete background checks, pay taxes and learn English.
• Ensure visa numbers align with labor market demands.
• Increase penalties for companies who violate labor laws against immigrant workers.
• Reduce the backlog for family-based visas to keep families together.
• Provide temporary legal status and a path to citizenship for undocumented students who have grown up in the U.S. through the DREAM Act.
• Add new enforcement resources and mandates electronic employment verification and implements stiffer penalties on employers who abuse the system.
DREAM Act (H.R. 1842)
I strongly support the DREAM Act to enable young undocumented students who grew up in this country to stay in the U.S. This bill removes federal penalties for states that provide college financial aid regardless of immigration status, and would also provide temporary legal status and a path to citizenship for undocumented students who have grown up in the U.S. and attend college or join the military.
In the winter of 2010, the House took up the DREAM Act on the House Floor. I fought tirelessly as a member of the Immigration Whip Committee to garner support for the bill. And it worked – I voted in favor of the DREAM Act when it passed the House as a standalone bill for the first time in history. Although the legislation was unable to pass the Senate, I remain committed to seeing the DREAM Act signed into law.
That’s why I am proud that President Obama has decided not to deport any DREAM students for the next two years. If you or a family member are a DREAM student, there are resources to help you through this process. Please visit here to see Frequently Asked Questions and how my office can help.
Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation Act (POWER Act, or H.R. 2169)
I introduced the POWER Act to stop disreputable employers from exploiting immigrants. Immigrants from across the country report that some employers threaten them with deportation to intimidate workers from protecting themselves against abuse.
While current law does protect all workers, regardless of immigration status, unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough to protect the victims of this abuse. The POWER Act would change that. My bill allows worker protection agencies to ask the Department of Homeland Security to provide immigrants with temporary lawful status and an employment authorization if they have filed a workplace claim against an unscrupulous employer.