March 22, 2007
The House Takes the First Important Step Towards Immigration Reform
[Los Angeles] Today Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) took an important step forward by introducing bipartisan comprehensive legislation designed to fix our nation’s broken immigration system. The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and our affiliates, the Korean Resource Center (KRC) of Los Angeles, the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) of Chicago and YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community (YKASEC) of New York see the bill’s introduction as a significant breakthrough.
While NAKASEC and its affiliates will be studying the details of this specific legislation, the STRIVE (Security Through Regularized Immigration and Vibrant Economy) Act appears to contain provisions that align with most of the basic principles that Korean American and all immigrant communities uphold with respect to immigration policy. They include keeping families together by eliminating the immigration backlogs, stopping mandatory and indefinite detentions and cruel deportations for minor infractions; bringing millions of hard working undocumented immigrations and their children out of the shadows and provide them a path to citizenship; protect all workers immigrant and US-born alike; allowing young immigrant to reach their full potential through access to college; and protecting and restoring basic rights and liberties.
EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC said: “Every day a child is wondering if she will ever see her parents again and young children wonder if they will have a chance to realize their dreams. We are all looking for a better life and immigration reform that is just and humane is urgently needed.”
“There are 12 million hardworking undocumented people in this country who have been left in the shadows without a way to legalize. More than a million are Asian Pacific Americans. The legalization program in the STRIVE Act is a step in the right direction that will benefit millions. “Many questions are raised however regarding the ‘Legal Reentry’ requirement for applicants. Is this just and workable? Will it open up a new bureaucratic nightmare?” said YuSoung Mun, executive director of YKASEC. He continued, “The inclusion of the DREAM Act is tremendous. It has the potential to give all children a chance at higher education and a future.”
Becky Belcore, executive director KRCC added, “For the past few years, every public opinion poll has shown that Americans are impatient for Federal action to solve the immigration problem. Data from our recent New American Exit Poll in November 2006 clearly indicated strong Korean American voter support for providing a path to citizenship for our nation’s undocumented population.”
Dae Joong Yoon, executive director KRC concluded, “Bills, like unjust laws, can be changed. Rep. Gutierrez and Rep. Flake has taken the first bold step and exercised strong leadership. Now it is up to our communities to respond. Our community knows first hand exactly what is at stake and what solutions are realistic and just. We intend to work with legislators to achieve the best for all Americans. Our work has just begun and in the next few months, we will educate, organize, and mobilize to realize our community’s vision.”