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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            Contact: Leonie Campbell-Williams
Jan. 27, 2010                                       Cell: 202-492-4591


President Obama Addresses Immigration Reform in State of the Union 

Asian American Justice Center Will Continue to Work With the President and Congress to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year
 
WASHINGTON — Statement of Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, on President Obama’s State of the Union address:
 
We want to applaud President Obama for calling on Congress to pass health-care reform, a jobs bill and legislation to end the "don’t ask, don’t tell" military policy. We also note that he called for continued work to reform our immigration system this year. In his address, President Obama made clear his ongoing commitment to immigration reform noting "we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system - to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation."
 
We need strong leadership from the president to get workable legislation this year. As is the case with many of the initiatives the president included in his speech, it is smart economic policy as well as the right thing to do. 
 
Estimates point that one in every 10 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is undocumented. Giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship could inject up to $1.5 trillion of GDP into our struggling economy over 10 years, a new study predicts.
 
One only need look at the massive backlog in legal visa applications that would reunite families to see the system is broken. Families should be together. Immigrants with family support are better able to pool their resources to buy homes and start job-creating businesses. Our broken system only encourages massive illegal immigration. We must replace it with one that provides a steady, manageable flow of legal immigration that puts families back together, rather than keeping them apart. 
 
In 2009, 1.1 million Asian-owned firms provided jobs to 2.2 million employees and had receipts of $326.4 billion. Asian American immigrants are eager to do their part to help turn around the economy.  
 
We will continue to work with the president and Congress to make this long-awaited priority a reality.
 
Karen Narasaki is available to comment on the State of the Union address. To book Ms. Narasaki as a guest on your show or for interviews, please contact Leonie Campbell-Williams at 202-492-4591.
 
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The Asian American Justice Center (www.advancingequality.org) is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates – the Asian American Institute of Chicago (www.aaichicago.org), the Asian Law Caucus (www.asianlawcaucus.org) in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (www.apalc.org) in Los Angeles – and 102 community partners in 47 cities and 24 states in the country.