Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement about her request that the discussion at the United States – Africa Leaders Summit in August include the critical topic of immigration. Today, the United States includes more than one and a half million immigrants from Africa in its population, a number that has doubled since 2000.
The letter sent to President Obama by Congresswoman Clarke and Congressman José E. Serrano with signed by thirty-five of their colleagues in Congress.
“The current policies we have create serious problems for men and women who want to come from Africa to the United States to study at our institutions of higher education, to work at companies that want access to their skills, or to reunite with their families,” said Congresswoman Clarke.
“We have a responsibility to eliminate the delays in processing immigrant visas and study visas and the complexities in the process of applying for asylum in the United States or status as a refugee. The character of our nation has always been defined by the immigrants who came here from every part of the world in search of opportunities for themselves and their children. We will have denied our character – a quality unique in the entire world – if we fail to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”
Congresswoman Clarke also mentioned her concerns about the Diversity Visa program (often referred to as the Green Card Lottery), available for people from nations that historically have not sent many immigrants to the United States, such as some nations in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean. The immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year would eliminate the program, which allows for 55,000 permanent resident visas each year.
The letter was also signed by Congressman José E. Serrano, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, Congressman Tony Cárdenas, Congressman Bobby L. Rush, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Congressman Albio Sires, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman John Lewis, Congressman Steven Horsford, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Congressman James P. McGovern, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge, Congressman Mike Honda, Congressman Jared Polis, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson, Congressman John Yarmuth, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman Joe Crowley, Congressman Keith Ellison, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Congressman Michael E. Capuano, and Congressman Mark Takano.
U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.