Why Houston’s Asian Community Wants the Immigration Reform Bill Passed

There's been a lot of talk about immigration reform especially since the Senate passed an immigration bill. But the conversation doesn't usually focus on Asian immigration, although the bill is a big topic for Houston's Asian community.

Often, when there’s talk about immigration reform, the focus is on immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries. What’s neglected is the significant number of unauthorized immigrants from Asia. According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 1.3 million Asian immigrants are undocumented.

Gordon Quan is a former Houston council member and an attorney with an immigration law firm. He says since about one-tenth of immigrants from Asia are unauthorized, the reform bill would have a big impact on the Asian American community.

“Many of the Asian countries are backlogged tremendously because of so much talent actually. So because of the quotas on different countries, they faced longer delays and sometimes have gone out of status because of that.”

The limit for family-sponsored and employment-based U.S. visas is 7 percent per country per year.

Because countries like China and India have very large populations, a sizable number of people have to wait for many years to receive residency permits.

Quan says the fact that the reform bill prioritizes immigration based on education and skills over family ties, also benefits the Asian community.

“Those are things I think we have been pushing as a community. Strong educational backgrounds, especially in the STEM areas; entrepreneur abilities…”

Since the Senate passed the immigration reform bill last month, there’s been a strong effort among immigration reform advocates to push the House of Representatives to follow along.