The Senate failed to complete its work on immigration legislation last week when immigration restrictionists led by Sens. John CornynJohn CornynOcasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan warnings Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (R-Texas) and Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Iowa) voted down Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidReid pushes back on Sanders suggestion that a Democrat with plurality of delegates should be the nominee Harry Reid on 'Medicare for All': 'Not a chance in hell it would pass' The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms MORE's (D-Nev.) effort to move the legislation forward for a final vote.

The efforts by restrictionists to vote down provisions that would have helped to protect the ability of immigrants to keep their families together are especially alarming. Restrictionists voted against family amendments sponsored by Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-N.J.), Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Trump dismisses reports of Russian meddling, labels them Democratic 'misinformation campaign' The new American center MORE (D-N.Y.) and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive takeaways from new fundraising reports for 2020 Democrats Obama sends birthday wishes to John Lewis: 'Thanks for making good trouble' The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE (D-Ill.), two of which were cosponsored by Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelAlmost 100 former officials, members of Congress urge Senate action on election security GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel White House aide moves to lobbying firm MORE (R-Neb.). A fourth amendment sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) to provide adequate visas to the parents of U.S. citizens was not voted on due to the failed cloture vote.

These family amendments would have fixed provisions in the Senate immigration bill that are particularly unfair to Asian Americans. Instead of respecting family reunification as the cornerstone of American immigration policy, Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) sought to block votes on family-friendly amendments. He also pushed his own amendment to the family provisions which made the law even more biased against Asian families by further eliminating consideration of petitions already filed for married adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens - over 60 percent of the visas in these categories went to Asian family members in 2005.

ADVERTISEMENT
Asian Americans who played by the rules and petitioned for their adult children and for siblings are being unfairly penalized by the proposed legislation. Moreover, by successfully lobbying Republican senators against the family amendments, the Bush administration further undercut support for the bill.

Senate Republican leadership needs to get serious about passing legislation that includes a workable solution to the problem of undocumented immigration. There must be a sensible path to citizenship for any new immigrants and realistic measures to keep families from having to choose between obeying the law or enduring years of separation.

The Asian American Justice Center, a nationally recognized voice on behalf of Asian Americans, will continue to pursue fair, humane and nondiscriminatory immigration policies. This issue is too important for failure to be an option. The Senate and the Bush Administration need to get it right and get it done now.