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Korean American Communities Organize for May 1st

By May 1, 2006No Comments


April 29, 2006                Contacts:Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC  (323) 937.3703
For Immediate Release                             Dae Joong Yoon, KRC  (323) 937.3718
                                      Becky Belcore, KRCC  (773) 506.9158
                                              Yu Soung Mun, YKASEC  (718) 460.5600

Korean American Communities
Organize for May 1st Activities Across the Nation

[Los Angeles, CA] Immigrant communities are organizing actions to keep up the momentum created following the historic marches and peaceful demonstrations in cities across the nation. As the Senate reconvenes deliberations on immigration reform legislation, the May 1st activities are set to send a clear and strong message that immigrant workers are integral to the American economy.

For many years, the Korean American community has been a central player in the developing of a national strategy for comprehensive immigration reform & immigrant rights as well as in ensuring the strong participation of our community members in numerous actions. From our beginnings when we mobilized our communities to oppose Proposition 187 and welfare reform to current battle to oppose H.R. 4437 and advance immigration reform policies that are just and humane, we have focused on bringing out our base of Korean Americans while working in coalition with the broader immigrant communities. Our most recent campaign was the Dollar-A-Person National Immigration Reform Ad Campaign that succeeded in raising $74,000 from community members and organizations to place prominent ads in major newspapers. (Please see attached copy.)

The mobilizing of communities across the nation has emboldened all communities. “Korean Americans have accelerated our activities in recent months, and are up to the task of bringing together our diverse sectors, from faith, business, workers, and community with a united voice in order to impact the larger immigration debate. For example, it was through a series of discussions that local business associations representing apparel wholesalers in Los Angeles garment district and restaurant owners and market owners in Koreatown to urge their membership to support the rights of immigrant workers to take the day off and participate in various activities. On May 1st we are saying that families must stay together,” said Eun Sook Lee, executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium. The range of activities include marches & rallies in Chicago and Los Angeles, a community forum in Flushing and a community teach-in in Philadelphia.

“With the Senate reconvening from recess to take up the immigration reform debate, plans for coordinated actions nationwide on May 1st are well timed,” stated Yu Soung Mun, executive director of YKASEC – Empowering Korean American Community. The groundswell of support for immigrant rights and in opposition to the draconian H.R. 4437 in recent months has helped turn the tide markedly. The greater goal however is to translate the incredible series of peaceful marches and actions into humane and just immigration reform policies.

During his recent trip to Orange County, President Bush reiterated his support for increased interior and border enforcement measures and a temporary guest worker but also delivered comments for the first time that would suggest support for a program that would allow undocumented immigrants to adjust their immigration status as long as they are not getting ahead of others waiting to immigrant legally. In response, Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles said: “We are hopeful. President Bush not only acknowledged that ‘massive deportation’ would be ‘unrealistic’ but also indicated an openness to consider ways to bring America’s undocumented population out of the shadows. But we need to these words reflected in actual legislation and we’ll be waiting to see when that happens.”

“As a predominantly immigrant population, immigration policies deeply impact the lives and future of the Korean American community. Not only do we have family members who have been waiting decade to be reunited, but 18% is undocumented. Our communities understand that a comprehensive approach must be taken to fix the broken immigration system. And, we must stand together to oppose anti-immigrant legislations and other attacks such as the recent workplace and other enforcement activities in multiple cities that will increase general level of community fear and greater potential for abuse of individual civil rights & liberties,” concluded Becky Belcore, executive director of the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center in Chicago.