WASHINGTON—Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), issued the following statement in response to the Senate passing immigration reform (S. 744).
“Today marks an important, though incomplete, victory for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and all immigrant families. After months of strong advocacy by health, social justice and civil rights groups, the Senate has spoken with a strong bipartisan statement, moving us forward to real immigration reform.
The bill will improve the lives of millions, offering the chance at citizenship—and a secure future—for the 11 million aspiring citizens without legal status. With those wins, however, come major concessions that will temper the American Dream for many.
The American Dream is built on the idea of opportunity, fairness and shared responsibility. Every person should have access to the health care they need to stay healthy, contribute to our economy and build strong communities. This is the principle behind health reform and so many of our nation’s long-standing safety-net programs. A person who pays into the system should be able to depend on that system – simple fairness.
The cost for passing immigration reform out of the Senate, however, undermines these goals with policies that will effectively put affordable health care and insurance out of the reach for many aspiring citizens. This is disheartening, but we know that Senate champions including Sen. Hirono, Sen. Boxer, Sen. Murray, Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Menendez have worked to make this bill as inclusive as possible.
Our work is not done. We thank all of the Senators who voted for immigration reform today, and call on the House to make the right decision for our country and work on a real bill that puts America’s security and health for all as top priority.”