As President Barack Obama prepares to visit San Francisco on Wednesday, dozens of Asian and Pacific Islander elected officials and community leaders gathered today to call on the federal government to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“We wanted to come together to send a very strong message,” Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said.
“We need to have strong, direct action,” Supervisor Eric Mar said. “We need to put a stop to the deportations and make sure we keep our families together.”
Supervisor Norman Yee said he was worried the U.S. was repeating history by detaining thousands of undocumented immigrants, saying his own father was detained for several months at the immigration station at Angel Island decades ago.
“We need to make sure President Obama does the right thing,” Yee said.
Community members called on Congress to make reforms to the country’s immigration system that will help keep families together and provide a pathway to citizenship and for Obama’s administration to stop breaking up families with detainments and deportations.
“This is really the first of many events that will begin to educate people and begin to call on elected officials to do everything that they can” to support reform, said Vincent Pan, executive director of the community group Chinese for Affirmative Action.
Congress could take up immigration legislation soon after a reported recent agreement on the issue between business leaders with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor leaders with AFL-CIO, Pan said.
Obama is arriving in San Francisco on Wednesday for two fundraising events with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
He will attend two more events in Atherton for the Democratic National Committee on Thursday before departing from the Bay Area.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News