Downloadable: English Press Statement
For Immediate Release Contacts: EunSook Lee, 323. 937. 3703
Chicago â€“ Chaegu Lee, 773. 506. 9158
June 16, 2004 Los Angeles â€“ Dae Joong Yoon, 323. 937. 3718
New York â€“ YuSoung Mun, 718. 460. 5600
NAKASEC’s response to the Hagel and Daschle Immigration Reform Act of 2004
Today, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced The Immigration Reform Act of 2004.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its affiliates, the Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles), YKASEC â€“ Empowering the Korean American Community (New York) and the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (Chicago) welcome this bipartisan legislation which contributes significantly to the current debate on immigration reform.
EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC said: “We are encouraged by the proposal because it is the first piece of legislation to date that addresses three key components of immigration reform; family reunification, temporary worker program and legalization. At the same time, we know that it is a long road ahead to ensuring that a bill with all three components is actually signed into law. There are also indications that other pieces of legislation regarding immigration reform will be introduced in the coming weeks. Once we have all the proposals together, we can do a deeper analysis and devise an effective advocacy strategy for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center stated: “Family reunification is of critical concern to Korean Americans and we are pleased that this legislation proposes a way to dramatically reduce the backlogs in a four year period by exempting immediate family categories from the annual caps as well as expanding the immediate family category to include spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents. Moreover, this legislation introduces a measure to increase revenues from the collection of fees from undocumented immigrants seeking to adjust their status to cover the need for greater resources for processing.”
Kent Lee, executive director of the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center added: “Another important provision in this legislation is the temporary guest worker program for new workers coming into the country, which includes a path towards legalizing one’s immigration status. This is a key difference between the Daschle-Hagel legislation and Bush’s immigration reform principles.”
The legislation also includes a legalization provision that would allow hard working undocumented workers who have resided in the U.S. continuously for a minimum of five years and also worked for a minimum of 3 years to adjust their status to legal permanent residency. There are also provisions allowing the petitioner to apply for the adjustment of status for their spouses and children. A clear concern for many of us however is that this proposal does not cover undocumented immigrants who have recently arrived into the U.S.
YuSoung Mun, executive director of the YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community concluded: “While we do need to study the legalization provision more carefully, this legislation is more in the direction that we would like to see immigration reform go. Our work ahead includes monitoring these new proposals as well as ensuring that existing legislation such as the DREAM Act, which has had tremendous momentum in the Korean American community remain prominently in the eyes of the public and Congress.”