Congresswoman Judy Chu speaking at an Immigration Reform rally in Washington, D.C.
Immigration is a strength. Immigrants grow our economy by starting businesses in greater numbers and laying roots in our communities. But, our immigration system is outdated and in dire need of reform. We have more than 12 million immigrants currently living in the United States without legal status, and over 4.4 million close family members waiting abroad to join their loved ones through the family-based immigration system. The current administration has exacerbated the immigration system by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for individuals from countries that are still unstable, detaining asylum seekers and separating their children from them, and processing fewer legal immigrant visas for fully vetted individuals.
I strongly support the bipartisan DREAM and Promise Act to enable young undocumented students and workers who were brought to this country as children to remain here. The DREAM Act and Promise Act establishes a process for eligible DACA, Temporary Protected States (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients with a pathway to citizenship. This has the potential to provide immigration relief for over 2.5 million individuals, including 130,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants. Dreamers can apply for legal permanent residency if they came to the United States before the age of 18 and have been in the country for at least 4 years. Individuals who were eligible for TPS and DED on January 1, 2017 and who have been in the United States for at least 3 years are also eligible to apply for legal permanent status.
I believe Congress must consider comprehensive immigration reform to fully address the issues that hamper our immigration system in a permanent manner. Businesses and farmers aren’t able to get legal access to the workers they need to stay competitive, which hurts our economy. There is also a huge backlog of family-based visas that must be cleared so that families can be reunited. We must make it easier for employers to bring the best and the brightest to the U.S. by eliminating country-specific limits on employment-based visas and exempting high skilled immigrants such as those with advanced degrees in science, technology and engineering. Passing these reforms will help bolster the U.S. economy and provide candidates for positions that are currently difficult for employers to fill.
Family Separation and Border Policy
We must do more for families seeking asylum at the border. I have visited family detention centers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing centers, witnessing firsthand the hopelessness and despair immigrants are experiencing in those settings. We need a more humane way of processing asylum cases by making sure that everyone fleeing horrific conditions or persecution is allowed to make their case before an immigration judge and held in less restrictive settings. I do not believe that immigrants seeking refuge in the United States should be labeled as criminals. They should be afforded fair proceedings and due process rights as dictated by our laws.
Children who enter the country either unaccompanied or with family should never be separated from their loved ones. The Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of separating children, including those under the age of five, from their parents is cruel and has caused irreversible trauma and heartache in these children’s lives. We need to do more to help children and their families who have no choice but to flee dangerous conditions and seek refuge in the United States.
The Muslim Travel Ban is tearing families apart and causing misery and psychological trauma. Spouses and fiancés are separated. Weddings, funerals, graduations have all been missed. Over 5,000 adopted children of US citizens cannot join their families. That is why I introduced the NO BAN Act. This bill would repeal all three versions of President Trump’s Muslim Ban, putting an immediate end to this family separation. It requires a report on the total number of waivers that were granted and the total number that were denied, so we know the truth about what’s happening. And it says that if a President does want to implement such a ban, they will have to produce actual evidence of a threat, so that in the future, no individuals are denied entry into the U.S. solely based on their religion
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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Clearing the way for a vote on the floor of the House, the House Judiciary Committee today marked up the NO BAN Act, the bill introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Senator Chris Coons (DE) to repeal the President’s Muslim ban and prevent any future baseless, discriminatory bans from happening in the future.
Washington, DC — Today, the Trump Administration announced an expansion of the existing Muslim Ban to include six new countries: Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Of these countries, Sudan and Kyrgyzstan are majority-Muslim, Eritrea and Tanzania are about half Muslim, Nigeria has the world’s 5th largest Muslim population and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are currently experiencing a genocide, which this ban will make it harder to escape.
Washington, DC — Today, as President Trump considers an expansion of the Muslim Ban, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) announced that she will be bringing Islmail Alghazali as her guest to the State of the Union. Ismail is a US citizen living in New York City who was separated from his family by the Muslim Ban, unable to even meet his newborn daughter for months. Rep. Chu issued the following statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three years after President Trump’s Muslim ban first separated thousands of families, Congressmember Judy Chu (CA-27) and U.S. Senator Chris Coons (Del.) today brought together Members of Congress, faith and civil rights leaders, and individuals directly impacted by the ban to call for passage of the NO BAN Act, legislation that would end the President’s Muslim ban and prevent another baseless, discriminatory ban from happening again. Chu and Coons were joined by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and U.S.
Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement to recognize Korean American Day, which commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the US on January 13, 1903 and the contributions of Korean Americans in all aspects of society:
U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) and U.S.
Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives voted on two packages of spending bills to keep the government open through fiscal year 2020 at levels higher than current funding and higher than the President’s budget request. The first package, under H.R.
Washington, DC — The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019. The bill will provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for qualified agricultural workers. It also improves the availability of farmworker housing ensures health and safety protections for workers, including heat stress protection. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) led the introduction of the Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act.
“I was completely dismayed by the lack of clarity on the waiver process,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.,) who introduced a bill this year to overturn the restrictions, said in an interview. “It seemed to me that these bureaucrats could give no clarity on how it is supposed to work and why it isn’t working.”