Congressman Harry Mitchell Meets Phoenix Community
By Yousuf Bhuvad
The Pakistani-American community in Phoenix, Arizona with Congressman Harry Mitchell and Mrs Mitchell
The Pakistani Americans of Phoenix, Arizona, along with some of their Anglo and Sikh American partners met with Congressman Harry Mitchell Saturday, August 8, 2008 at a dinner hosted by Dr Shameela and Zulfiqar Farooqui at their home in the Paradise Valley.
Dr. Zulfiqar Ahmed and Dr Maqbool Halepota were the additional hosts of the evening. Over 100 guests attended the informal gathering and the fundraiser for Harry Mitchell’s campaign.
Among the groups present were AZ Business Owners Association, Pakistani American Network of Scientists, Engineers and Professionals, Community's CPAs and Accountants Network, Light Transportation/Cabs' Operators Association of Sky Harbor, restaurant owners, prominent journaists, scholars and teachers. Besides, many Pakistani American physicians were present on this occasion.
The program started with Mr. Arif Kazmi welcoming the guests, Congressman Harry Mitchell, and his team. The Congressman was accompanied by his wife Marianne Mitchell and his staff Robbie Sherwood (District Director), the special congressional staff Elizabeth Higgins and the office staff Hershel Fink.
Mr. Kazmi thanked Dr. Zulfiqar and his wife Shameela for hosting the beautiful event. He then introduced the professional and business groups present on the occasion.
Mr. Kazmi highlighted the issues of the Pakistani Americans in the valley, especifically those relating to legal immigration. US citizens often have to wait endlessly to unite with their loved ones because of delays in the processing of their applications. They are treated rudely, sometime unfairly, by the staff at the US embassies. Many legal residents in the US are trying to become US citizens but unnecessary hurdles are being placed in their way resulting in long delays. Students who want to come to the US for /pursuing higher studies too are facing tough times in getting the US visa. He also mentioned the plights of small business owners who are constantly becoming victims of racial profiling and being subjected to harsher treatment by inspectors and regulators.
Congressman Harry Mitchell thanked the audience and the host for the opportunity afforded to him to listen to the issues of the community. He mentioned his visit to Islamabad and how he enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, hospitality and food during his stay in Pakistan. He introduced his staff and indicated that he and his staff would be happy to serve the needs of the community.
Responding to the issues facing the Pakistani-American residents, he agreed that the immigration system needs to be reformed. He reiterated that he believes that no individual or business owner should be subjected to any kind of racial profiling based on his background or looks. He hoped to get significant changes done in the policies after the upcoming election.
Congressman Harry Mitchell opened the floor for a question and a answer session. The audience asked questions on various topics, including health reforms, education, energy policy, transportation and the current presidential campaign. At the conclusion of the question-and-answer session, dinner was
served. The guests mingled with the congressman after the dinner and took pictures with him.
Overall, the fundraiser provided a great visibility and a networking opportunity among various professional/business groups and the office of Congressman Harry Mitchell.