February 18, 2021
Sam Yu, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213.703.0992
Michelle Liang, Policy Manager, email@example.com
Chicago, IL – Today, on February 18, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38) introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives President Joe Biden’s long awaited immigration bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is expected to introduce this same bill into the U.S. Senate in the coming week. That Congress is working on a bill outlining a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants–plus revamping the family-based immigration system–is a testament to and a victory of the years of organizing and advocacy by our communities towards Citizenship For All. We have fought hard to establish the political avenues for legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants, 1.7 million of whom are Asian Americans, and for reforming our heavily backlogged family-based immigration system, in which 40% of the 4 million person backlog are Asian American immigrants.
While we welcome the positive components of this legislation, it actively excludes long-needed relief groups of our community members due to their contact with the racist criminal legal system and increases surveillance at the border. This is in direct opposition to our values, which does not support the narrative that some of our community members are deserving of citizenship whereas others are not. We believe every single person is deserving of their full human rights, which includes citizenship.
NAKASEC launched our #Citizenship4All 100 Day campaign by centering a community member who defies the “deserving/undeserving” narrative. Justin bravely shared with us, “…I hope that Biden or anybody else in Congress is able to see us people for who we are today…as a young man, I just want to give and give and give and continue to change people’s lives wherever I go. But I can’t do that. Because I’m not a citizen, I can’t do that. But I want to. I want to be able to stay here with my family, to go to school, to get the job that I want. I want to be able to meet people, to marry somebody and start a family here and not have everything feel like it’s in shambles or limbo.”
According to past experience and political projections, we only have this year to pass significant immigration legislation before the midterm election campaigning begins. We demand that Congress and the White House take immediate steps to enact broad relief for all immigrant communities who have been waiting and advocating for this opportunity for decades, and include ALL of our community members in legislation.
NOW is the moment we must organize together like never before. We will be bold and relentless until we win a pathway to citizenship for ALL of our undocumented community members and an end to detention and deportations!
NAKASEC’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, racial and economic justice. The NAKASEC Network includes HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), NAKASEC VA (Virginia), MinKwon Center (New York), Korean Resource Center (California) and the Korean American Voters League (Texas).