Diversity Visas. During an interview with American Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) said the omission of diversity visas from the “gang of eight” immigration bill was “one of the worst things that I could imagine.”
There are 55,000 diversity visas issued each year. About 45% of the visas are used as a pathway to citizenship by African and Caribbean immigrants. Rep. Fudge, along with Reps. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) have been working to put attention on the issue of diversity visas. The “gang of 8” legislation, formally introduced last Friday, ends diversity visas.
Ryan asked Fudge what she thought about the White House’s idea to add a “point system” or “merit based” system added to the plan that some say create a pathway to citizenship for Africans and Caribbean immigrants.
“My position is, since we have been talking with them for more than a month about our concerns our position is: if you don’t put it in the bill the Black Caucus is not going to support it. I can guarantee you they need our votes. If they want to get a real fair and balanced bill passed they need to either put diversity visas back in or something that is comparable to diversity visas,” Fudge answered Ryan during the three minute interview.
So far one member of the CBC, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), has confirmed he will not vote for immigration legislation that does not include diversity visas. The CBC has 43 voting members in the House.
“We believe that it is patently unfair they removed it when they have things in the bill like adding 10,000 visas for people who have come from Ireland. When they have put things in the bill to help the meat industry in South Carolina and all kinds of other things yet they have determined that not only the three million African immigrants who are in this country don’t deserve the same protections as anyone else but more importantly they don’t want to allow people from the diaspora — which would be Afruca and the Caribbean — to have a pathway to come to this country or a pathway to citizenship,” Fudge said.
“It’s very very disturbing, Fudge added. The interview aired this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. To hear audio of the interview go here.