Congresswoman Judy Chu speaking at an Immigration Reform rally in Washington, D.C.
Our immigration system is outdated and in need of reform.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.
During the 113th Congress, I was among five Members who introduced a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15). This bill would reform, improve and modernize our immigration system so that it works for families and business alike. The bill includes the following measures:
• Provides a pathway to temporary legal status and a pathway to citizenship to residents who have been in the U.S. since December 31, 201, who compete background checks, pay taxes, and learn English
• Expedited pathway to Earned Citizenship for DREAMers who entered the U.S. before he or she turned 16, have earned a high-school diploma or GED, have completed at least two years of college or four years of military service, and have passed an English test and background test.
•Special path to legalization for farm workers who have performed a certain amount of hours during a two-year period, and pay a penalty and pass background check.
• Reduce the backlog for family-based visas to keep families together.
• Expand legal immigration by creating a new merit-based point system that allows foreign nationals to obtain legal permanent residence (LPR) status by accumulating points mainly based on their skills, employment history, and education credentials.
• Makes it easier for employers to bring the best and brightest to U.S. by eliminating country-specific limits on employment-based immigrant visas and exempts certain highly skilled immigrants from the worldwide cap, such as those who have advance degrees in science, technology, and engineering.
• Provides appointed attorneys for unaccompanied minor children, immigrants with serious mental disabilities, and other particularly vulnerable individuals in removal proceedings.
• Mandates and expands electronic employment verification (E-Verify) 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, 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.
More on Immigration
Southern California Rep. Judy Chu and other lawmakers denounced President Trump's characterization of family-based immigration as "chain migration" during a press conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., opening another front in the battle over immigration reform.
Washington, D.C.— Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), issued the following statement on the long-term budget deal that was passed this morning:
Washington, D.C.— Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), introduced H.R. 4944, the Reuniting Families Act, to fix the current backlog in the family immigration system. Currently, it can take decades for a U.S. citizen to be reunited with even one family member. The Reuniting Families Act, cosponsored by 45 Members of Congress, would make a number of changes to expediate and increase family reunification. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
Emiliana was born in the Phillippines. Her father was a World War II veteran who fought for the United States and was able to become a citizen. However, he was forced to leave his family in the Philippines behind. When Emiliana’s aging father started to need full-time care, he petitioned for her to join him. When it was granted, she, at the age of 60, moved from the Phillippines to Oakland to be there for him.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced today that President Trump has once again invited families who lost a loved one in a crime committed by an immigrant to be his guests at the State of the Union. These guests are a part of his anti-immigrant campaign, despite statistics that immigrants are more law abiding and less violent than native-born individuals. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), who invited a Dreamer to be her guest to the State of the Union, released the following statement:
Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) has invited Jung Bin Cho, a 23-year old Dreamer, to be her official guest at President Trump’s State of the Union scheduled for January 30th. Jung Bin Cho’s family emigrated to the U.S. from Korea in 2001 with the hope of attaining the American Dream for their children. Thanks to DACA, Jung Bin was able to work and save money that allowed him to graduate from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Information Technology. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
Washington, D.C.— Today, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced the USA Act, a bill to provide legal status to Dreamers while providing more resources for border security and immigration courts. The USA Act was written by Reps. Will Hurd (TX-23) and Pete Aguilar (CA-31) and is cosponsored by 40 members, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, including Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27). Rep. Chu and Rep. Aguilar released the following statements:
Washington, D.C.— Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement on Tuesday’s decision by a federal judge in California to temporarily halt President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program:
Washington, D.C.— The House of Representatives today passed a limited disaster relief bill and a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through January 19, 2018. Prior to their consideration, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) called for comprehensive action to not only keep the government open, but to also fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), answer the President’s call for a solution for undocumented immigrants, and adequately meet the needs of all areas hit by natural disasters this year, including California, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Rep.
Congress needs to pass a replacement for DACA before it adjourns for this year. Thousands of people are counting on us.