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March 7, 2013

The North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA) and its members as first, second and third generation immigrants, appreciate the need for an immigration system that reflects American values of justice, transparency and due process. We are hopeful that the White House and Congress can move forward and enact immigration reform legislation that reflects the promise of America and offers concrete solutions to our immigration challenges.

NASABA welcomes the immigration reform principles outlined by key bipartisan Senators (Sens. John McCain, Chuck Schumer, Richard Durbin, Robert Menendez, Michael Bennett, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Flake) as well as the President. We support a functional roadmap to citizenship for approximately 11 million people. We urge policymakers to create a streamlined process without overly burdensome requirements such as high fines for low-income communities. “We hope that the process is implemented fairly without bias towards religious or ethnic minorities. From past experience we are concerned that seemingly innocuous requirements such as background checks could take months longer for South Asian males than for other groups,” said NASABA President Emilie Ninan.

The South Asian community is deeply impacted by an onerous family and employment immigration system. Family members are waiting in long lines for visas to be reunited with spouses, parents, children and siblings. Proposed measures to temporarily increase visa numbers and to change the per-country cap will help alleviate backlogs.

We are also heartened by the provisions that will help America attract and retain highly skilled South Asian workers and students. These include creating a green card for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Masters and PhD graduates from universities in the U.S., eliminating per-country caps for employment visas and increasing visa numbers.

Finally, we ask policymakers to insert due process into the removal system so that individuals like Kairi Shepherd, an Indian-born adoptee who is facing deportation because of criminal convictions, no longer fear being separated from everyone and everything they know.

NASABA looks forward to informing and supporting legislative efforts to enact broad-scale immigration reform that works for all aspiring Americans.

NASABA is a voluntary bar organization with 25 chapters in the United States and Canada. NASABA serves as a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement for South Asian attorneys in North America and seeks to protect the rights and liberties of the South Asian community at large across the continent. For more information, please visit us at or on facebook or LinkedIn. NASABA Contact: Salman Azam , V.P. of Public Relations 312-324-3244 .

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