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[Press Release] Relief, Reform, Respect

By September 16, 2010 No Comments

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2010
Contact:
Jane Yoo, jyoo@nakasec.org, (o) 202-299-9540, (c) 718-710-2277

Immigrant Leaders Met with Renewed Energy for DREAM Act and Immigration Reform

Korean American Pastor Joins Civic and Faith Leaders Calling for Relief, Reform, Respect

Washington, D.C. – The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and affiliates KRC of Los Angeles and KRCC of Chicago supported the participation of Reverend EunSang Lee of the 1st United Methodist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the “Relief, Reform, Respect” forum and action. A long time faith leader in people’s movements, Reverend Lee brought with him the experiences he gained from the richness of his ministry, which is an immigrant-led, diverse English language congregation.

The forum that drew more than 500 civic and faith leaders from 25 states also invited members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Senator Robert Menendez and Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Nydia Velazquez, where they laid out a 3-prong legislative strategy to make immigration reform happen this Fall. They are:

1. Push for the passage f the DREAM Act
2. Introduce a new comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate
3. Press the White House to provide administrative relief, including the repeal of 287 (g) and deportations.

“Having Reverend Lee travel to Washington D.C. solidified our continued work in representing the diverse voices and experiences in the immigrant rights movement,” said EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC. “We eagerly join with our allies across the country in this reinvigorating call for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform.”

Says Reverend Lee, “Leviticus 19:33-34 tells us ‘When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.’ God also tells us not to give Him hollow worship, but to support and protect the poor, orphans and widows who are around us. These are constant reminders of why I voice support for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act and no distance is too great for me to act on my support.” During the forum, Reverend Lee delivered a blessing to organizers in the field for the hard work done, and hard work ahead, and later met with legislative offices to voice support for this current momentum for immigration reform.

First setting foot in America in 1978, Reverend Lee, then a college student, left a politically suffocating Korea to join his wife who had already settled in the U.S. as a nurse. It was a matter of staying together as a family, but it was also a matter of escaping from turmoil.

Reverend Lee believes that church ought to be a sanctuary for everyone regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class status and gender. Moreover, church should be a place where unconditional love is practiced and forgiveness and compassionate is a language understood by all.

The action was organized to respond to the hostile national dialogue about immigrants and immigration reform and the harsh policies of the Department of Homeland Security, which led to a record number of deportations last year. With Congress back in session, event organizers and participating organizations used this opportunity to continue the immigration debate and push Congress and the Administration to deliver on their promise for real reform.

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The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a national progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans; as a part of a greater goal of building a national movement for social change. NAKASEC is based in Los Angeles and a D.C. office opened in September 2008. NAKASEC also has affiliates in Los Angeles (The Korean Resource Center) and in Chicago (The Korean American Resource & Cultural Center).

The event is sponsored by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and the Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) coalition. NAKASEC is a member of the Immigrant Organizing Committee (IOC) executive committee, which is the governing body of FIRM and co-chairs the AAPI table of the RI4A campaign.

 

Photo credit – NAKASEC. To view more pictures from the events, click here: