Congressional Asian Caucus Makes Pushes for Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform GraphicWashington, D.C. – In the years-long debate about immigration reform, Latinos have been the most vocal about the changes they would like to see. Now the Asian Pacific American Caucus has weighed in on the debate, releasing their ideas on how reform should take place which includes slowing deportations of non-criminal offenders.

Politico reported that the caucus, led by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), will introduced their proposals to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday and echoes proposals from the Hispanic Caucus and immigration advocates.

“As DHS conducts its review of enforcement policies and practices, we strongly urge you to take bold action to stop the pain inflicted on families through deportations and detention,” the lawmakers wrote in the memo, obtained by Politico.

California Rep. Mark Takano, (D-Riverside), member of the caucus, wrote in the memo, “the family unit is one of the cornerstones of our nation, and as the debate around our immigration system progresses, we must do all we can to keep as many families together as possible. By adopting the changes in today’s letter, President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security can give millions of potential Americans the security that they and their families deserve.”

Among the proposals included in their eight-page memo, the group would like President Obama to expand Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to include parents, spouses and siblings of young immigrants eligible for deportation relief under the executive order.

Additionally, they would like deportation relief under DACA be expanded to include all immigrants who were brought into the U.S. under the age of 16. Currently, immigrants who turned 31 as of December 2012 are not eligible for deportation relied under DACA.

The caucus also recommended deportation policies should “promote fairness and family unity,” and urged the DHS to stop deporting people whose only crime is being in the country without authorization. During his term in office, President Obama has deported 2 million immigrants many of which immigration activists say have been removed for minor offenses such as driving without a license.

Other proposals include ending deportations without judicial review, to stop issuing detainers for immigrants who aren’t charged with serious crimes and an end to Secure Communities, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Rep. Chu said her caucus rushed to introduce the proposals after DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson  announced on Sunday, he would be giving President Obama recommendations on how to make deportation policies more humane “very soon.”

There is still much speculation about what changes Secretary Johnson will recommend. Last week, two sources involved in talks with Johnson told the Associated Press that DHS could stop deporting immigrants who are not serious criminal offenders and don’t pose a threat the homeland security. There was also speculation DACA could be expanded to include parents, spouses and children of Dreamers. But Johnson would not confirm that when he spoke to ABC News Sunday.

“I am looking for ways to more effectively enforce and administer our immigration laws. I believe there is room for improvement, and hopefully we’ll get to a better place,” Johnson said.