Grace Meng’s First Policy Letter Critiques Chuck Schumer’s Immigration Bill

Congresswoman Grace Meng (Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Women's Campaign Fund)

Congresswoman Grace Meng (Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Women’s Campaign Fund)

It’s not just conservatives who are critiquing Sen. Chuck Schumer and the rest of the so-called “Gang of Eight” for their immigration bill.

Freshman Congresswoman Grace Meng, a steady liberal hand, is also urging to re-assess the latest version of the proposed federal immigration overhaul. But her warnings come with a unique twist: potential damage to Asian-American immigrant families.

In her first such letter to lawmakers on a major piece of legislation, Ms. Meng, New York’s first Asian-American Congresswoman, told Mr. Schumer, New York’s most politically powerful voice in Washington, that she has concerns about certain provisions of the sweeping reform bill, which is set to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Specifically, she pointed to provisions she said would limit family reunifications by effectively eliminating the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their adult siblings and married adult children for permanent residency.

“In its current form, the Senate plan contains a number of provisions that are particularly disadvantageous to the Asian American community and detrimental to our immigration system and the American economy at large,” wrote Ms. Meng, who has been building ties with fellow female lawmakers. “The Asian American community faces unique challenges that are not addressed in the current proposal and deserve further consideration.”

She noted that 60 percent of the current foreign-born population from Asian, and argued that helping families re-unite would cut down on money sent out of the country to family members who can’t immigrate.

“The need for family reunification is foremost in the hearts of the Asian American community, and the underlying assumption that these particular relationships are attenuated is simply false,” she said.

The letter was endorsed by a host of immigration advocacy groups, including the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Greater Chinatown Community Association.

Mr. Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a call for comment on Ms. Meng’s concerns.