High-Skilled Immigration Act
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I am elated to know that a Filipino-American organization has taken a position on the issue of immigration reforms.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) adopted a stand by endorsing the Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reforms presented by the Association of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAAPI).

Up in the air is this big question: Will the much needed comprehensive immigration reforms be passed by the end of this year or will 2013 be another year of waiting?

There are key immigration points that will impact on the Asian and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Based on data made available by groups advocating immigration reforms, there are some 1.3 million AAPIs who are undocumented, and the path to citizenship as defined by the Obama administration is the practical solution to the problem.

One of eight eligible Dream ACT immigrant youths is of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. And nearly two million Asians are working hard to be reunited with members of their families who are left in their native countries.

For the aforementioned reasons, I urge individuals and organizations to support immigration reforms.

There are several groups supporting the immigration-reform campaign, and there is an urgent need to link up with them. These include the following:

The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice Statement of Principles on Immigration Reforms, apalc.org/sites/default/files/Advancing Justice AAPI Principles on Immigration Reform.pdf; Asian American Center for Advancing Justice Reuniting Families Campaign,  http:llwww.advancingequality.org/reuniting-families;

Alliance for immigrant Rights and Reform-Michigan, http://www.michiganimmigrationreform.org/; Dignity Campaign,  http://dignitycampaign.org/.

Dignity Campaign has a few South Asian and Filipino organizations as members.

President Obama and the bipartisan Senate “Gang of 8” released recently immigration principles, but what is missing, according to several groups, is a guiding principle for the reunion of families whose members were split apart and deported.

The good news is that Congressman Mike Honda (San Jose, CA D17) has introduced a bill (HR 717) entitled Reuniting Family Act, which is similar to a bill introduced in the past. This bill, if enacted into law, would authorize the use of unused visa to reduce the backlog.

It also allows flexibility for administrative judges to address the hardship of families and Filipino World War 2 veterans with their children given priority in the issuance of immigration visas.

In a development, Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii introduced a bill which seeks to facilitate the reunion of Filipino World War 2 veterans with their families. Senator Hirono mentioned in her press release that the backlog in the processing of applications for immigration by Filipinos applications is so heavy that some cases have been on file for over 20 years. The veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, have long waited for their reunion with their families.

I am confident, though, that this specific immigration reform will be included in the final proposal for a comprehensive immigration law.

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Willie is a teacher at the Detroit Public School. A very popular and influential leader in the Filipino-American community in Michigan, Dechavez is the incumbent Michigan state chairperson of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) and public relations officer of both the Filipino-American Community Council (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center (PACCM). A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he is also vice president of the Bicol Association of Michigan. He is recipient of numerous awards.

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