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Asian Americans slam proposed US immigration draft

The draft will take away legal immigrants' right to sponsor their kin to join them.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2007 12:30 IST

Asian American community leaders have slammed as "inhumane" and "un-American" a newly leaked White House immigration draft which proposes to take away the right of legal immigrants to sponsor their relatives to join them.

The document containing "a set of principles" for immigration reform drafted by key Republican Congressional representatives was circulated in Washington last week.

The plan creates temporary visas for undocumented immigrants and new workers, but it also places more limits on American citizens ability to bring their parents, children over age 21 and siblings to the United States.

"This plan attacks families and offers false hope for those seeking to legalise," Karen K Narasaki, executive director of the Washington-based Asian American Justice Center has been quoted in the New American Media.

The Asian American community is the second largest group of immigrants who enter the United States through family sponsorship or by being immediate relatives of American citizens.

According to statistics of the Department of Homeland Security China, Vietnam and India are among the top ten countries whose immigrants arrive through family sponsorship.

In 2005, about 17,000 Chinese obtained legal status in the United States through family sponsorship; 26,800 became legal residents because they were immediate relatives of US citizens.

Because so many Asians enter the United States through family quotas, the result of the White House draft could be nearly the same as the Chinese Exclusion Act, Michael Lin, executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans has been quoted in the media report.

"We cannot allow this injustice to happen again. Family is the foundation of American society," Lin said at a teleconference hosted by the Asian American Justice Center.

Immigration advocates have also criticised the kinds of penalties that are being proposed under the draft White House plan--of undocumented immigrants requiring to pay $3,500 fines and other fees every three years in order to stay in the United States.

Many Asian American immigrant advocates support the STRIVE ACT of 2007, a new comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on March 23.

The STRIVE ACT, it is maintained, could eliminate the backlog of family-based immigrants and help reunite children of Filipino World War II veterans.