RELEASE: Congress Failed to Protect Our Youth, but We are #HereToFight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2018

CONTACT: Sam Yu | syu@naksec.org | 213-703-0992

                    Ashley Yu | ashley@krcla.org | 323-212-4188

                    Huong Nguyen | hnguyen@nakasec.org | 703-256-2208

 

Congress Failed to Protect Our Youth, but We are #HereToFight

 

Chicago, IL – March 5, 2018 marked the deadline Trump gave Congress to find a permanent legislative solution for 800,000 Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. As all proposed legislation failed, our young people still do not have a pathway to citizenship nor the protections they need to live without fear of deportation. As a result of Congressional inaction, 22,000 youth have lost their DACA status. To express our outrage and stress the urgency for a permanent solution for immigrant youth, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and affiliates, the HANA Center of greater Chicago and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) of Los Angeles and Orange County, coordinated and participated in local actions in Virginia, Chicago, and Orange County, CA.

 

In Leesburg, Virginia, NAKASEC VA, CASA, and several Indivisible chapters organized an accountability action – Virginia is for Lovers, Not Racists – on Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA), criticizing her hollow, superficial commitment to her immigrant constituents, who make up a significant portion of her district. She was scheduled to speak at an event across the street called “Love Your Neighbor: Love Not Hate.”

 

Jung Bin Cho, DACAmented community leader with NAKASEC, stated:

“Today marks the deadline of DACA being rescinded by the man in the Oval Office. I want to tell Representative Comstock: no more words, no more false promises. What we need is action! What we need  from Representative Comstock is a clear and genuine commitment to racial and social justice for all people regardless of where you are from or how you look. Representative Comstock, please hear my words. I am not just a face in the crowd; I am somebody, and I deserve full equality.”

 

In Chicago, NAKASEC and the HANA Center co-led over 100 faith leaders and community members with the Protected by Faith coalition based in Chicago for a direct action outside of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, a source of fear and anxiety for undocumented young people. To demonstrate community’s resolve in spite of congressional inaction on passing an immigration solution, leaders from NAKASEC, HANA Center and faith communities formed a human chain outside the ICE office in Chicago. Themes of resilience, love, and family were spoken throughout the action.

 

On the topic of Congress cutting family based sponsorship in exchange for an immigration deal,  Esther, DACAmented young leader with NAKASEC, shared:

“It infuriates me that members of Congress, even our so-called allies, would think that I would ever want a pathway to citizenship that would prevent me from sponsoring my own parents. Our parents made us who we are today. Our parents are the original Dreamers. When you celebrate the achievements of Dreamers like me, you are celebrating the achievements of our parents, our friends, and our communities. So when we march today, we must not only think about the 800,000 DACA recipients at risk but also their families. I would not be here today if it weren’t for my mom. She is my hero, and she is here to stay too!”

 

In Irvine, California, KRC assembled a candlelight vigil outside Representative Mimi Walters’ (R-CA) office. Through this action, community leaders from KRC expressed not only their outrage against the failed leadership of Representative Walters, who has one of the most impacted districts in the county for undocumented youth and families, and the White House, but also their determination to continue fighting for justice for all immigrants.

 

Jonathan Paik, Orange County Director with KRC, said:

“In this moment, we demand that Orange County legislators stand up for citizenship for ALL undocumented immigrants and refugees. We understand that the fight for legislation that would protect family reunification, diversity visas and provide pathway to citizenship for all immigrants will be challenging, but we aim to continue the fight for complete justice for all undocumented immigrants. Our work will continue until we achieve permanent protection, citizenship and equity for all of our communities.”

 

Although Congress has not passed a permanent legislative solution for our young people, DACA renewals are still being accepted. The Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality behind Trump’s decision to end DACA is projected to come out within a year or so. NAKASEC and affiliates strongly encourage any and all eligible people to renew their DACA and to use our organizations as a direct resource for DACA renewals inquiries. More information on DACA renewals can be found in our one-pagers available in both English and Korea.

 

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Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice.  NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia, Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (HANA Center) and Los Angeles and Orange County (Korean Resource Center).