LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK –- On the eve of the Senate Judiciary committee’s first hearing on the immigration reform bill, advocates are pushing for more inclusive amendments to the bill.
Southern California immigrant communities hit the streets of Los Angeles to pressure lawmakers expedite the passing of the bill and to make sure of the inclusion of the provisions for family reunification.
“We are here asking the public to join the movement for immigrant rights, asking immigrants to step it up this year because we need to pass immigration reform and to pass it,” said Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform of Los Angeles.
The Philippine Consulate in New York held forums to prepare Filipinos for the possible changes to immigration laws.
“As the immigration debate rages on, and the US Congress is set to tackle a draft immigration reform bill we should acknowledge that this issue is also a personal matter for many of us particularly since the outcome of debate may involve life changing effects ,” said the Consul General Mario De Leon.
While advocates say they are happy that a bill has been introduced in congress, many say the elimination of sibling petitions, and exclusion of immigration benefits for same sex couples must be included in the 844 page proposal.
“It doesn’t cover all of the needs, all of the preferences, all the specific issue that individuals have. It is better than what we have before but still not where we want to go, it’s just a draft of the bill,” said National Association of Filipino American Association Regional Director Steven Raga.
Dreamer-turned-advocate Anthony Ng, in Los Angeles, explained, “It’ll be a month process I would assume, just because there’s going to be so many amendments here and there. I think for us, it’s making sure we protect whatever is good in the bill and make sure we amend whatever’s not in the bill so we can get the best bill possible for the entire immigrant community.”
Maria Cruz Lee, the special assistant to the commissioner at New York’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is encouraging the undocumented to take advantage of certain free services regardless of immigration status, under City Executive Order 34 and 41.