Press Release | Asian American and Pacific Islander Families Organize Day of Action for Immigration Reform

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For Immediate Release

May 28, 2013

Contact:

Jane Yoo, NAKASEC, 202.630.4013

Hey Kyung Eum, KRCC, 773.588.9158

Dayne Lee, KRC, 323.937.3718

Asian American and Pacific Islander Families

Organize Day of Action for Immigration Reform

Efforts Aim to Restore Family Unity and Ensure Passage of Strong Bill

Today, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and affiliate centers, the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC) in Chicago and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) in Los Angeles announced the Stand With Families: National AAPI Day of Action for Immigration Reform Campaign. This June mobilization in Washington D.C. of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families aims to call on Congress to restore the family visa program in the Senate immigration bill (S. 744) and to ensure that a strong bill passes on the Senate floor. The campaign is organized by NAKASEC, KRCC and KRC, along with Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD) and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

While the immigration bill that passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21 was improved with the passage of strong amendments, the family visa program remained untouched, making the adult children and sibling categories severely limited or eliminated altogether.

“Families are going to Washington D.C. to tell members of Congress that restoring the family visa program within the Senate immigration bill is the right thing to do,” said Dae Yoong Joong, executive director of NAKASEC. “What essentially is happening is that the right of a US citizen to sponsor their sibling is being stripped away in the name of economic prosperity.” Continued Yoon, “Congress does not understand that for many of our family members, a brother or sister is the only family member they have, and families, too, make our communities thrive. That is why we’re bringing our community members to tell Congress to restore the family visa program and restore the rights of US citizens.”

Right now, the current immigration bill to be debated in the full Senate floor includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, an issue that is also important for the AAPI community. Advocates and community members are preparing to ensure that the legalization provision is protected during the debates ahead.

“The Korean American undocumented community has been tremendous advocates the past decade. From youth to their parents, they have shared their stories, marched and have done everything in their power to make the case for immigration reform and change the hearts and minds of the public,” said Hee Joo Yoon, executive director of KRC. “They understand that their participation only escalates from now on. We need everyone’s voices to make sure that a strong immigration bill passes this year.”

“Hundreds of AAPI families are going to make a case to Congress on June 5 and we want legislators to know not to turn their backs on what is already a compromised bill,” said Sik Son, executive director of KRCC. “The goal is to raise our community voices even louder to make improvements to the bill, not weaken it. Our communities are ready to make that happen.”

The Stand With Families: National AAPI Day of Action for Immigration Reform Campaign is also engaging people online. To ensure that everyone has a voice and presence, the “Dear Congress” (http://bit.ly/nakasecdearcongress) effort seeks to collect letters from families and individuals from all 50 states to show Congress why CIR is important. The letters will be hand delivered on June 5 during meetings at legislator offices by participants. Organizations are also being invited to endorse the event.

For more information, please visit www.standwithfamilies.org or email at standwithfamilies@nakasec.org.  NAKASEC’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/nakasec) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/nakasec) sites will also provide updates on the mobilization.

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The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a national progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans as a part of a greater goal of building a national movement for social change. NAKASEC is based D.C. and Los Angeles.  NAKASEC also has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles (Korean Resource Center).

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