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 But, our immigration system is outdated and in dire need of reform.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, DC - Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced new guidelines regarding the Biden Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities. The new priorities state that just being a “removable noncitizen” is no longer sufficient basis for deportation action. It also restores prosecutorial discretion for an individual’s immigration case, and includes new mitigating factors such as one’s age, length of stay, and impact of removal on one’s family.
Washington, D.C. - Today marks the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by then-President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. Since its inception, DACA has helped over 800,000 undocumented youth who were brought to this country as children, many of whom have been serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as essential workers.
Washington, D.C. –Today, Reps. Judy Chu, Barbara Lee, Diana DeGette, Lizzie Fletcher led 135 Members of the House on a letter applauding the US Department of Health and Human Services for proposed regulations to repair and rebuild the Title X family planning program. The letter supported new program regulations to uphold a patient’s confidentiality, protect specialized providers from harmful discrimination, and prioritize culturally competent and equitable care for people with low incomes.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed the NO BAN Act, the bill introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Senator Chris Coons (DE) to prohibit discrimination in our immigration system on the basis of religion and restores the separation of powers by limiting the ability of future Presidents to issue similarly discriminatory travel bans. The bill will be sent to the floor of the House of Representatives, where a vote is expected in the near future.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) reintroduced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act. This bill, cosponsored by 137 House members and led in the Senate by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), strengthens the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans. Supporters of the NO BAN Act issued the following statements:
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.) U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and applauded President Biden’s immediate action to repeal the Muslim ban on his first day in office. Chu and Coons issued the following statement:
Washington, DC — On Monday, 57 Members of Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), sent a letter to President-Elect Biden urging him to issue an Executive Order directing federal agencies to rescind the public charge rule within his first few days in office.
PASADENA, CA – On Friday, 58 Members of Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield demanding an end to the Trump Administration’s expulsion of unaccompanied children at the border without due process. The letter also asks for answers about how the expulsions were implemented, who the children are, if the children are being tested for COVID-19, and if the children’s welfare and development are being protected.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, 82 Members of Congress sent a letter, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), to leaders of both the House and Senate urging them to include support and protections for immigrants in the next COVID-19 relief legislation. The letter is available online here.
Now Congress is pushing back. On Wednesday the House passed the No Ban Act, legislation introduced last year by Sen Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.). The act aims to repeal Trump’s ban on arrivals from majority-Muslim countries and prevent future presidents from issuing discriminatory bans on foreign nationals or followers of specific religions.