Media Contact: Yongho Kim yongho [at] krcla.org
Irvine Residents Ask Walters: Rise in Support of Dreamers
Over 30 voters, students, and community members in support of the DREAM Act rallied outside the office building of U.S. Congressmember Mimi Walters. Voters were seeking answers from their representative - will she meet with the community to discuss the fate of the dreamers? Will she support a clean DREAM Act? Why is she avoiding the issue?
Organized by the Korean Resource Center, Orange County Congregation Community Organization, SEIU United Service Workers West and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, the event drew Asian American, latino, black and white residents gathered in an sprawling arc surrounding the doors leading to the corporate building, a large all-glass structure overseeing the commercial center across the street. Passersby were emerging from the nearby Starbucks and Wahoo’s Fish Taco, looking at the rally crowd with curiosity as they walked to their cars. This building houses the congressmember’s office. The crowd was loudly chanting “Mimi Walters, meet with us! Meet with us!” and “What do we want? Dream Act!”.
Tracy La, a 6-year resident of Irvine, recent graduate of UC Irvine, registered voter and young leader at KRC, said “I was part of the effort at KRC to register thousands of voters in this district and speak with hundreds of other voters, whether through calling them directly on the phone or speaking with them in person. We demand that she opens her doors and schedules a meeting with us.”
Vania Rivera, a leader at SEIU-USWW, said “These young people are contributing to society and striving for their dreams. It is imperative that Representative Walters supports the DREAM Act."
Organizers showed a large panel plastered with some of the 2,000 postcards collected in support of the DREAM Act that are set to be delivered to the congressmember on Friday. Organizations have been talking to residents in public places and calling voters and canvassing at the UC Irvine campus to collect the postcards. After asking for a meeting for over 8 weeks, the group is giving Walter’s office 48 hours to schedule a meeting with a delegation to discuss the DREAM Act.
Jonathan Paik, OC Director at KRC said “We reached out to 5,110 Asian American voters in Representative Walter’s district, and 74% have said that they urge their congressmember to vote for a Clean DREAM Act. We are baffled at Walter’s lack of responsiveness to this pressing community issue. The DREAM Act is a strong legislative solution that would allow young immigrants to continue living their American Dream with a path to citizenship. It only makes sense to support the bill.”
The group plans to return to the building on Friday, at the end of the 48-hour deadline. “We don’t have a lot of time. Every day, 5,200 people on the DACA program will lose DACA, lose their jobs, and lose deportation protections.”, Paik said, looking up at the building. Fall leaves were reflecting off its glass walls. “This is why we are asking her to meet with us now.”
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