With an undocumented population of more than 12 million people and millions more waiting years, sometimes decades to reunify with family members, there is growing public awareness that the immigration system is broken. Communities across the nation know that political will for a serious proposal is desperately needed.
Korean American communities have been engaged in the national effort to realize long-term systemic changes to our immigration laws since 1994. In doing so, we have reached a level of consensus that any legislative proposal must contain the following components:
- A path to legal permanent residency for hard-working immigrants and their children who are now forced to live and work in the shadows;
- Reform that reunite families by preserving the family preference categories, eliminating the immigration backlogs, stopping mandatory and indefinite detentions and cruel deportations for minor infractions;
- A plan to manage the future flow of migrant workers that is designed to prevent abuse and exploitation, and that allows those who grow roots here to eventually apply for permanent residency;
- Features that strengthen and protect worker rights so that our immigration laws can no longer be used as a tool to reduce wages and working standards;
- Provisions to defend and protect basic rights and liberties; and
- Immigration relief for undocumented students who have grown up in this country and farm workers whose work feed our nation.
Recent NAKASEC-led or co-organized campaigns
Dreams Across America Tour, June 13 – 20, 2007
Last year’s spring mass mobilizations that awakened America to the problem succeeded because of two key elements: the coming together of labor, faith and community organizations, and the powerful stories of immigrants speaking out and sharing their dreams and aspirations. The Dreams Across America Tour in June 2007 combined those two elements to create a new set of storytellers/messengers whose personal stories, punctuated with political points about the urgent need for immigration reform, to humanize the issue of immigration reform. From the time the 107 dreamers representing the diversity of America boarded the trains in four departure cities until they arrived in DC and met with 69 legislators, it was an affirmative experience from which the dreamers grew from telling their stories to telling each others stories. While the DAAT did not have the typical components of a mobilization/advocacy event, like the APA Mobilization, the Tour resulted in mobilizing thousands on the ground and virtually over the Internet. It was a media campaign utilizing traditional and emerging media forms (blogs, Internet, and video) and blanketing mainstream, alternative, ethnic and local outlets. During that weeklong period (June 13 – 20, 2007), there were over 500 media hits in English, Spanish, and Korean outlets. Dreamers were on hand for interviews, plus the media and public could view and read stories posted online at www.dreamsacrossamericaonline.org. All of the dreamers and others who submitted video content were recruited via our organizations contacting community members and asking them to agree to send friends and family to share their stories. NAKASEC organized taping sessions at the Chinatown Community Development Corporation in San Francisco and another at the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles. NAKASEC was one of the seven LA-based organizations that spearheaded the campaign (including logistics, program, messaging, budgeting, bookkeeping) and recruited 11 APA dreamers, of whom five were Korean Americans.
Building America’s Future Toghether: National Asian Pacific American Mobilization for Immigration Reform, April 30 – May 1, 2007
At a critical time in the immigration reform debate, Asian Pacific Americans from 27 states gathered in Washington, DC to raise their voices for just and humane immigration reform. Organized by NAKASEC, KRC, KRCC, YKASEC, and other APA organizations, this historic event brought close to 400 hundred APAs together to build solidarity and community and to shape the debate for immigration reform. The two-day gathering featured community panels, documentary screenings, rally at Taft Memorial Park and legislative visits with approximately 60 Congressional offices.
Night of a 1,000 Conversations, April 5, 2007
The Night of 1,000 Conversations was the method used by the Liberty & Justice for All campaign on April 5 to thoughtfully engage friends, family, neighbors (and beyond) in a discussion of due process and of shared core values. A total of 500 conversations involving 5,000 people were held on that night. For Korean Americans, the conversations presented an opportunity to talk about an issue that is not typically discussed, but nevertheless an issue that has impacted many Korean immigrants. NAKASEC and affiliates hosted just under 500 people and 37 conversations (in English & Korean) at various sites, including homes, cafes, and churches. Our participants ranged from high school students to seniors. We produced Korean language materials and tied the conversations to relevant stories of impacted members in our community. The format was highly interactive and encouraged leadership development – people talked to each other and hosts were leaders by hosting conversations.
Korean American National Sign-On Letter for Immigration Reform, May 2006
In a span of a week, NAKASEC and its affiliates coordinated a national Korean American sign-on letter for humane immigration reform to send to Congressional members. In total, 142 Korean community, faith-based, and business organizations from 8 states (NY, GA, PA, IL, MN, WA, OR, and CA) endorsed the letter. The sign-on letters were hand-delivered to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Mike Honda, Representatives Neil Abercrombie, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Zoe Lofgren, and Senators Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton on May 17 during a national lobby day.
DOLLAR-A-PERSON AD CAMPAIGN, May – September 2005
With contributions, totaling over $73,000, from more than 14,000 individuals and 261 diverse groups nationwide, the “Dollar-A-Person” ads were the first of its kind placed in major newspapers to demonstrate broad community support for comprehensive immigration reform. The ads featured five diverse individuals who were separated from their families, living in the shadows, and losing loved ones because of our nation’s unworkable and outdated immigration system. 20 diverse immigrant rights, labor, and faith-based organizations from across the country initiated the campaign and NAKASEC’s affiliated 501c(4), NAKASEC Action Fund acted as the fiscal agent. The ads were placed at an opportune moment following on the heels of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform. The ads appeared on The Federal Page of The Washington Post on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 and in The New York Times on Friday, October 21, 2005. In response to the ads, the NAKASEC Action Fund received tremendous positive feedback from individuals across the country motivated to advocate for immigration reform. To deliver the message to Congress, representatives of the NAKASEC Action Fund traveled to Washington D.C. to personally deliver copies of the ad to Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Representative Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and senior staff from Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), sponsors of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. Copies were also distributed to every member of the House and Senate.
Fair Immigration Reform Movement
FIRM is led by a coalition of grassroots community organizations working on behalf of immigration reform and immigrant rights. The coalition consists of organizing networks, statewide immigrant rights coalitions, and faith-based and low-income groups, and works in partnership with national organizations. FIRM is governed by a group of organizations, including NAKASEC, called the Immigrant Organizing Committee and staffed by the Center for Community Change.
For more information, please visit www.fairimmigration.org.
National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) is a coalition of 26 national organizations based in D.C. of which NAKASEC is the Immigration Committee Co-Chair. NCAPA serves to represent the interests of the greater APA community and to provide a national voice for APA issues.
For more information, please visit http://www.ncapaonline.org
Rights Working Group
The Rights Working Group (RWG) is a national coalition of civil liberties, civil rights, immigrant rights, and human rights and other organizations that was formed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The mission of RWG is to restore and strengthen America’s commitment to human rights, civil liberties and due process for all persons in the United States regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
For more information, please visit http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Updated on 2015-07-15T18:16:43+00:00, by .