We, the undersigned representatives of various African organizations and supporters in the United States, submit this petition to express our position on the pending Immigration Reform bill that is due for mark up in the next few weeks.
We expect the bill to continue addressing the historical inequity and bias with respect to Africans.
We believe we need an advocate for fairness and equality as the bill goes through the mark up phase.
We are concerned about specific provisions of the bill, and would like them be addressed in the mark up of the bill.
HERE ARE OUR KEY ISSUES:
I. DV Lottery: We urge you to sponsor an amendment to repeal section 2303. The DV Lottery should not be eliminated. Congress must preserve the American Dream for those who may not be “superstars” in the global migration system.
This program was originally conceived to address the historical and legislative inequity in the immigration system that restricted the migration of people from certain countries. The DV Lottery program is built upon foundational, democratic and egalitarian principles that strengthen America. These principles advance equal opportunity, attracts entrepreneurs and visionaries who contribute immensely to the American small business sector, and improves the quality of our social, economic, political and cultural life. It has been a very successful foreign policy, civil rights achievement and national security tool.
African DV Lottery Winners:
• Thousands of DV lottery winners from African countries have served in the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
• The DV lottery has had the effect of lifting families out of poverty; provided opportunities to the affected families; and provided a talent pool for the U.S. economy. Nearly 48% of DV lottery visas benefit African immigrants.
• The DV Lottery especially helps African immigrants who may not have ties to United States’ corporations, United States citizen or lawful permanent resident family members or favored institutions that might enable them to lawfully immigrate to the United States.
• African immigrants provide vital services to United States citizens, especially the young and aging American population through services such as Home Health Care Center and by serving as au pairs.
• African immigrants contribute to the transportation service industry as taxi cab and limousine drivers, owners of taxi cab and limousine drivers and as owners of small businesses in the United States. As part of a highly educated group, they will also contribute to nation’s global competitiveness in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
II. Pathway to Citizenship: In light of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill’s proposed elimination of the DV lottery programs, we urge you to support the following amendments to the Merit Based Immigrant visa:
1) 50,000 visas formerly reserved for DV eligible countries i.e., unrepresented countries, be set aside in the new merit-based system;
2) Increase Country of Origin points to 20 points for nationals of underrepresented countries;
3) F-1 students and F-2 dependents get employment authorization documents;
4) Expand the requirements of STEM to include associate degree in medical sciences. Add an extra S or M to STEM or W Visa to include any Allied Health Professions and Medical Technicians as these occupations are in the medical sciences; and
5) Include Allied Health Professions and Medical Technicians plus home healthcare workers in the W visa categories (CNAs, RNs, LPNs, Nurses Aides, Home health care, radiology technologists, respiratory therapists, MRI technicians, occupational therapists).
Your continued commitment to the immigrant community and your anticipated help in ensuring fairness and equality in our Immigration laws is appreciated.
The African Immigrant Community & Allies