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Charlotte families concerned over impact of new immigration bill

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TWC News: Charlotte families concerned over impact of new immigration bill
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CHARLOTTE — Some Charlotte families worry a new immigration bill will keep loved ones apart.

A group of U.S. Senators is putting the final touches on an immigration reform bill. At a news conference Monday, the Southeast Asian Coalition and the Latin American Coalition expressed concerns about the bill's potential to not allow families the opportunity to be united legally in the United States.

Zenobia Drammeh wants to finally put a face to the voice.

“I hear him on the phone all the time,” said Drammeh.

Those 10 minute phone calls and stories from her mom are all she knows about her brother in Gambia.

“My biggest dream is for her to see him again,” said Drammeh.

Drammeh's entire family except for her brother moved to the United States years ago. Her brother stayed behind to take care of his grandparents.

Drammeh's story is similar to others at a Latin American Coalition and Southeast Asian Coalition news conference. The families there hope to be united with loved ones one day.

“I might not be able to get that chance,” said Drammeh.

Drammeh and the other families say they are worried a new immigration bill could keep their families apart. Eight senators are currently drawing-up the new legislation. They expect to be done later this week.

Southeast Asian Coalition Executive Director Cat Bao Le worries the new bill will grant residency based on the country's economic needs instead of family unity.
       
“Any formal proposals that would undermine family unity and create any more barriers to family unification go against our values of family unity,” said Le. 

Drammeh is currently going through the petitioning process and has waited decades for the government to allow her brother in the U.S.  She would rather keep waiting, than to never have hope of seeing him face to face.

Later this week, several Charlotte groups will be travel to Washington D.C. to be part of the national rally for immigration reform.  A Charlotte rally is scheduled on Wednesday.

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