May 17, 2007
EunSook Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703
YuSoung Mun, YKASEC, 718-460-5600
Becky Belcore, KRCC, 773-506-9158
Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323-937-3718
NAKASEC Statement on the Immigration Reform Deal
Brokered by Key Members of the Senate & White House
(Los Angeles, CA) - The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates – Korean American Resource & Cultural Center of Chicago, Korean Resource Center of Los Angeles, and YKASEC-Empowering the Korean American Community of New York – represent communities around the country that are active participants in the current movement for immigration reform. As a community composed of one out of five who is undocumented and working in the underground economy and tens of thousands caught in the family immigration backlogs, this issue is of utmost importance to Korean Americans. Moreover, Korean Americans are predominantly an immigrant population who knows intimately the devastating impact of denying individuals basic due process rights and civil liberties.
We are living in an important political time with the potential to realize the dreams and desires of millions in our nation with the enactment of a truly comprehensive, just and humane immigration reform bill. The deal brokered on May 17th by a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House fails to meet our aspirations. The legalization component of the deal is significant because there appears to be the opportunity for most of the 12 million undocumented immigrants to legalize their immigration status. Yet it would be following an incredibly long wait period and after fulfilling rigorous and unrealistic requirements of eligibility, including the required touchback for applicants to their country of origin. With this exception, the remaining components of the deal are simply unworkable and unacceptable.
We cannot support a deal that shatters the current family based immigration system by eliminating preferences for siblings and adult children as well as severely restricting entry for parents. Similarly, we cannot support a deal that proposes a future worker program with virtually no path to citizenship. We are essentially on the road to recreate the problems that face us to today by creating a permanent underclass of unprotected immigrants -- the new undocumented for the future.
In the days ahead, our community will continue to work hard to communicate clearly that we will support a serious and humane legislative vehicle that will address our policy principles. The principles that guide our work are: create a path to legalization for all, higher education opportunities and legalization through the DREAM Act, preserve the current family immigration system by maintaining all family preference categories, a future worker program with a path to citizenship, and protect workers’ rights & due process.
To this end, we will continue to educate, organize & mobilize our community. In the weeks to come, we will ensure that our community’s concerns will be heard in the halls of Congress. We continue this work because we believe that just & humane immigration reform is key to building America’s future.