April 22, 2013

WASHINGTON—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and 68 community-based organizations from around the country committed to improving the health and well-being of Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian communities and advancing health equity, submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for today’s hearing on the bipartisan Senate immigration bill, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” (S.744).

In the testimony, the organizations called the introduction of the comprehensive, bipartisan bill a major step forward for the nation, but urged Congress to rethink the barriers the bill places on health care access for immigrants.

“The Senate bill is a good start to the immigration reform process,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “But the bill compromises heavily on health care, leaving out many of the newly legalized from full access to health reform and critical health programs.”

Access to affordable health care is a top issue for Asian Americans, who are the fastest-growing racial group in the nation. The community overwhelmingly supported the Affordable Care Act, and turned out at the polls in huge numbers in 2012, voting for candidates who supported health reform and are proponents of immigration reform.

“All individuals and families, including immigrants, need affordable and accessible options so they can live healthy lives and have bright futures,” said Priscilla Huang, APIAHF policy director. “An immigration bill without this component would be shortsighted and could take a major human and economic toll in the long term.”

APIAHF urges Congress to work swiftly and tackle the country’s broken immigration system with a bill that offers the same access to affordable health care and insurance for all, regardless of immigration status. Learn more about APIAHF’s priorities for comprehensive immigration policy reform here.

The following organizations joined APIAHF’s written testimony: APAIT Health Center, Asian & Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Asian American Health Coalition of Greater Houston, Asian Americans for Change, Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, Asian Health Coalition, Asian Health Services, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Asian Pacific Community in Action, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Advocacy Association, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership, Asian Services In Action, Inc., Asian Women for Health, Inc., Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, BPSOS Inc., BPSOS California, Breast Cancer Action, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Inc., CHOW Project, Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, Field Research Corporation, Health Through Action Arizona, Hep Free Hawaii, Hmong National Development, Inc., Island Liaison, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese American Citizens League, Arizona, Kalusugan Coalition, Inc., Lao Assistance Center of MN, Laotian American National Alliance, Light and Salt Association, Malama Pono Health Services, Micronesian Islander Community, Midwest Asian Health Association, MQVN Community Development Corporation, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Arizona Chapter, National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, National Pacific Islander Educator Network, National Tongan American Society, OCA, One Global Family Foundation, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Inc., Pacific American Foundation, Pacific Islander Community Partnership, PELE, The Sorority of Oceania, Philipino Senior Resource Center, Project CHARGE, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Saath USA, Samoan Community Development Center, Samoan National Nurses Association, SEAMAAC, Inc., Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Tanusia Ma’a Tonga, Taulama for Tongans, The HYPE Movement, Tongan American Youth Foundation, Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans, Vietnamese Health Project at Mercy Medical Center, West Michigan Asian American Association, Inc. and Worksafe, Inc.