By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
June 25, 2013
LOS ANGELES – It’s a big week for immigrant rights advocates as the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on its comprehensive immigration reform bill by Thursday.
At Asian Americans Advancing Justice (formerly known as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center) the call for immigrant rights is building up.
Volunteers, including undocumented youth, are making signs and placards for a scheduled 24-hour vigil which begins Wednesday afternoon at the federal building in Downtown Los Angeles.
“Immigration reform is not going to answer all of our immigrant rights issues. It’s a small piece of it. This is going to provide a pathway for 11 million undocumented folks, fix some of our issues within immigration,” said Anthony Ng, a “Dreamer” that works for AAAJ.
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill includes provisions on immigrant workers, a pathway to earned citizenship for the undocumented, tougher border security, and the elimination of family based petitions.
“It’s really disappointing that they are going to put a lot more resources into the border. But Dreamers, particularly, undocumented youth who don’t qualify yet for the Dream Act because they’re not old enough, are not included in the pathway to citizenship. I think that’s sort of disappointing,” Ng added.
While unsatisfied with the proposals, advocates believe the current legislation is just the beginning. They will try to make their voices heard on the federal building footsteps.
“For the inclusion of all immigrant families in the Senate bill right now, as it stands, there are a lot of people that are going to be left out of that path to citizenship. Brothers sisters won’t be able to be sponsored anymore,” explained AAAJ staff attorney Connie Choi.
The Senate believes the current bill could get as much as 70 of the 100 votes to advance it.
However, critics are uncertain if the House of Representatives would approve a similar legislation.
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