For Immediate Release
November 21, 2014
National: Emily Kessel, eakessel [at] nakasec.org, 703-256-2208
California: Yongho Kim, yongho [at] krcla.org, 213-937-3330
Illinois: Nayoung Ha, nayoung [at] chicagokrcc.org, 773-588-9158
Virginia: Dong Yoon Kim, dkim [at] nakasec.org, 703-256-2208
The President Keeps His Promise, But Our Work Is Not Done
Washington DC - The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates, the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles and Orange County, California and the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago, Illinois welcome President Obama’s announcement that he will keep his promise to fix the broken immigration system through executive action. This new program will provide relief to an estimated 4.9 million undocumented immigrants, allowing them to apply for work authorization, receive temporary relief from deportation, and stay united with their families.
This is not enough. Close to six million undocumented immigrants will continue to live in the shadows and in fear that they may one day be separated from their families. Our communities demand that Congress provide a lasting solution to the broken immigration system by passing comprehensive and humane immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.
Today, NAKASEC, KRC, and KRCC hosted a national teleconference to inform the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community about the President’s plan. NAKASEC and affiliates representatives spoke, along with Joann Lee, Managing Attorney of the Asian Pacific Islander Unit of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) who provided a legal perspective.
Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon, Executive Director of NAKASEC, said: “I attended the Las Vegas event with a Korean American community organizer who is impacted by the broken immigration system. It has been a long, emotional, and empowering journey for justice and freedom for immigrant families. The President announced his long-awaited executive order on immigration that would grant relief from deportation and work authorization to about 5 million immigrant family members, about 400,000 of which are AAPI. There will also be an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more young people who entered this country before 2010. This is a significant accomplishment for immigrant families who never gave up the fight for their loved ones. We commend President Obama’s leadership by introducing this new plan. But for us, our work is not done. Six million hard working families will still live as second-class citizens without any rights. The President initiated this, and now it is up to Congress to do the right thing for America by finishing the job.”
“In the past 20 years since the passage of Proposition 187 in 1994, KRC and the Korean American community have been working together to share our stories and move immigration reform forward. Our immigrant families earned this victory by coming together in countless ways – through marches and rallies, acts of civil disobedience and vigils, voting, phone calls, and the simple act of telling their American story. President Obama’s announcement will transform the lives of millions of people who came to this country in search of a better life. Additionally, this announcement will move the country towards becoming a stronger nation. It will strengthen the economy, increase revenue from payroll taxes, stabilize the federal debt, and raise wages for workers already in the country. But we want our community to know that the announcement does not mean executive actions have gone into effect. We urge community members to contact our centers or visit our website to seek information to best prepare themselves when the application process begins in the coming months. KRC will offer free or low-cost services, and we look forward to assisting a new group of adult community members, as well as continuing to support our young community members inquiring about DACA, in-state tuition, and other resources,” said Hee Joo Yoon, Executive Director of KRC.
Inhe Choi, Executive Director of KRCC, said: “While we mark the significance of President Obama's executive action, we are also disappointed that undocumented parents of DACA recipients are not protected. They, too, are part of America’s story, and their contributions to our country must be recognized and valued. However, KRCC and the Korean American community in Chicago will not lose hope. We will continue to work hard to stop the suffering of close to six million families and also achieve a solution that reunites the families that have been stuck in the family immigration backlogs. To this end, we urge Congress to support the President’s decision to take action and immediately get to work by introducing a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. We must not leave any of the six million behind.”
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The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans on major social justice issues. NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia and Los Angeles and Orange County, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles and Orange County (Korean Resource Center).