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Press Statement: NAKASEC Calls on Rep. Gutierrez to Take the Lead on Immigration Reform

By September 17, 2009No Comments

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 17, 2009
Contact: L. Sookyung Oh, 202.567.1397,

NAKASEC Calls on Rep. Gutierrez to Take the Lead on Immigration Reform Legislation
On Citizenship Day, Communities across the country call for real action on comprehensive immigration reform

WASHINGTON – Today, hundreds of immigrant leaders and representatives are calling upon Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to lead a strategy in the coming weeks that will get specific comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced and moving through the halls of Congress. With the overwhelming support of communities across the country, Rep. Gutierrez will be asked to make the commitment at an event in Washington organized by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), Korean Resource Center (KRC), and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (a network of pro-immigrant advocacy groups) as part of their Citizenship Day celebration.

Rep. Gutierrez played a pivotal role in the Familias Unidas interfaith tour earlier this year that introduced families separated from loved ones by our broken immigration system to his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and House Democratic Leadership and helped build compassion and support for immigration reform.

“Korean American communities across the country are ready to support a bill that fixes our broken immigration system,” said EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC. “We want to support Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC in taking bold action to break through the years-long stalemate on Capital Hill.”

EunSook Lee said they expect the Gutierrez’s effort to lead to a progressive immigration bill which they defined as having the following features:
• a pathway to citizenship that keeps families together;
• elimination of the family immigration backlogs that keep people waiting years and decades for legal entry;
• a system to modernize the process by which visas are allocated so that they reflect actual economic needs;
• protection of worker rights for immigrants and native-born workers;
• restoration of basic due process rights and protection of basic rights and liberties; and
• enforcement that respects these rights and restores confidence in the immigration system; and effective and innovative immigrant integration programs.

“We are confident that if we can get a game going, we can win just and fair immigration reform,” Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of KRC said. “It will take leadership and a sense of urgency, and Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC had the courage to stand up and tell the stories of our separated families at a time when people weren’t listening. Now we are asking him to step up to the plate again to get things moving in Congress for an immigration reform bill. We hope members of the California and Illinois delegation join in him in making the passage of an immigration bill a top priority.”

While a great deal of attention has been on health care reform – and rightly so – the urgent need for immigration reform has not diminished. If anything, the acrimony, deception and scapegoating of immigrants in the health care debate has underscored the need for a comprehensive solution that resolves the immigration issue. Immigrants, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, progressive groups, and a broad coalition across the political spectrum want solutions to our current immigration mess.

“We need smart, sensible, American solutions to the issues facing American communities, and that includes immigrants,” Becky Belcore, executive director of KRCC said. “We take citizenship very seriously and want to help shape the direction of our nation.”