Asian American civil rights organizations say a new immigration reform bill could provide Southeast Asian American deportees a pathway back to the United States, NBC News reports.
Democrats reintroduced the New Way Forward Act into Congress on Tuesday. Democratic Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, (IL) originally introduced the bill in 2019. Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Karen Bass of California co-wrote the bill with García.
The goal of the bill is to decriminalize immigration and address systemic racism in the immigration system.
“At this moment in history, we’re called to uphold our values of compassion, common humanity and racial justice,” García said during a virtual press conference. “This is the moment to reimagine an immigration system rooted in justice and compassion.”
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), a civil rights advocacy non-profit, says that the bill would allow some Southeast Asian American deportees to reopen their cases and return to America. It would also prevent automatic deportations by redefining convictions and restoring judicial discretion, according to NBC News.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice and SEARAC, an organization dedicated to uplifting Southeast Asian American communities, praised the bill in a joint statement.
“As we look to eliminate mass incarceration and create a racially just society, the New Way Forward Act is an essential step toward justice and equity for immigrant and refugee communities,” the organizations stated in a press release. “We need to provide a way for those individuals who were unjustly removed to have the opportunity to come home and be reunited with their families.”
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