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Mazie Hirono gets personal

Among the 100 U.S. senators, there’s just one who is a first-generation immigrant: Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono (D), who was born in Japan and came to the U.S. with her mother when she was 8 years old.

Hirono has spoken from a personal view during the immigration reform debate, noting that her mother brought her and her two brothers to Hawaii to flee their abusive father, who was an alcoholic.

“She raised me and them by herself so we could have better lives in this country called America,” Hirono said during the hearing. She said that during the debate over reform, senators should be mindful that “immigrants are human beings with families.”

Hirono has offered several amendments that would restore some categories of family visas, which the legislation would eliminate in order to free up visas for more immigrants who offer work skills.