Washington, D.C. – As more details become available about the meeting between the White House and Congressional leaders on Thursday, civil rights organizations are calling attention to the White House’s efforts to get Congress to eliminate the family immigration system and diversity lottery in exchange for passage of legislation for more than a million immigrant youth whose lives hang in the balance since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was terminated by the Trump administration on September 5th.
Since the termination of the DACA program, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) has called for passage of a clean DREAM Act — a bipartisan piece of legislation that provides a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants without the attachment of any other provisions that would further negatively impact our immigration system.
“Congress must not cave to White House pressure to trade passage of a legislative solution for undocumented youth in exchange for supporting its white nativist agenda of building a border wall, more immigration enforcement, ending the family-based immigration system, and slashing the annual number of immigrants that receive green cards (referred to as “chain migration” in the White House press statement),” Asian Americans Advancing Justice said in a statement.
Chain migration is a term used by anti-immigrant and white supremacist organizations to attack the United States’ family-based immigration system, the statement said.
When Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, it finally ended the previous racist national origin quotas that began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and heavily favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe. The diversity lottery was included in the 1965 law as a way to ensure that people from all over the world would receive the opportunity to immigrate and reunite with or keep their families together. The vast majority of immigrants coming to the U.S. through the family-based system and diversity lottery are people of color, the statement said.
In addition to blocking families from reuniting, the White House requests for increased immigration enforcement will also tear apart families already in the U.S. This two-pronged attack to curb immigration and increase deportations is part of a white supremacist agenda to reduce the number of people of color in the U.S, according to the statement.
The statement added: “We call upon every member of Congress in support of undocumented youth to do the right thing and continue pushing for the DREAM Act before they go home for the holidays. With every passing day, 122 immigrant youth lose their status. More than 11,400 have already lost their protections and hundreds of thousands of others’ lives are hanging in the balance. If you are a member of Congress who claims to stand with undocumented youth, you must also stand up to this administration’s attempts to further its agenda by separating families through deportations and slashing immigration by ending the family immigration system and diversity lottery. The time is now to pass a clean DREAM Act before the holidays. Congress, we’re holding you accountable to make it happen without concessions that dismantle the family immigration system or harsh enforcement policies that would further tear families apart and terrorize immigrant communities.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice | AAJC (Washington, DC), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago.