Hirono, The Senate’s Only Immigrant, Worked Closely With Colleagues To Shape Bill To Help Hawaii, Immigrant Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono voted today for the Senate immigration reform bill that delivers big results for Hawaii and includes a number of measures that protect immigrant women and families. The U.S. Senate’s only immigrant, Hirono worked closely with colleagues to shape the bill in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor.
“I stand with the large, bipartisan group of senators in voting for an immigration bill that will benefit Hawaii and our nation. This bill is not perfect, but it’s a true compromise developed through a transparent and open process. Beyond just providing a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers, the bill contains a number of measures that will help Hawaii, clear the family immigration backlogs and provide protections for immigrant women and families. Now, it is time for my former colleagues in the House to come together and pass this bill.”
Of Hirono’s 11 measures that were passed during the Judiciary Committee’s markup, all were included in the final bill. These include major legislative victories for Hawaii –measures that help Filipino World War II veterans reunite with their children, restore Medicaid eligibility for COFA migrants, help Hawaii’s fishing industry and could expand foreign tourism in the state. She also convinced her colleagues to include key protections for women and families during the committee’s markup.
An immigrant who came to America with her mother and brothers as a young girl, Hirono worked with her colleagues to make the immigration bill better for women and families. She introduced an amendment with 12 of her female colleagues that would have given women a more equal opportunity at receiving green cards. Even though the measure got bipartisan support from members of the Gang of 8 and was prioritized by Democratic leaders for a vote, it could not be brought to the floor because of a lack of agreement on voting on any amendments. Hirono plans to work to include the measure in a conference report on a final bill.
In March, she earned the rare distinction as a freshman senator of chairing a full Judiciary Committee meeting on the challenges that women and families face in the immigration system. Before the bill was filed, Hirono led a group of seven senators in sending a letter to the Gang of Eight, encouraging them to prioritize family unification in the immigration bill. Both during the committee’s mark-up and on the Senate floor, Hirono urged her colleagues to craft a bill that would be fair to women, encourage family reunification and allow immigrants taxpayers get access to safety net programs they pay for.
Summaries of each of the measures Hirono convinced her colleagues to include in the final Senate bill reads below:
Hirono’s Immigration Victories For Hawaii
Hirono Measures To Help Women & Families In Immigration System