On October 23, 2003, the DREAM Act passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 16-3 vote.However, the legislation was significantly weakened by 3 amendments, pushed through by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).In response, NAKASEC and its affiliates joined forces with other local and national organizations for the National Week of Action, urging Congressional members to “Drop the Amendments and Pass the Act.”
On November 19, NAKASEC, KRC and other Los Angeles member organizations of the LA â€˜DREAM Team’ coalition held a large, energetic rally outside of Senator Feinstein’s office. Simultaneously, a delegation of students, teachers, and community organizations met with the Director of the Southern California office to relay community disappointment at the Grassley-Feinstein amendments. The following Friday, a delegation also met with the Director of the Southern California office for Senator Barbara Boxer. During this visit, community members and students thanked Senator Boxer for her past support and requested that she play a more influential role in moving the DREAM Act to the Senate floor.
Los Angeles’ National Week of Action wrapped up with a press conference hosted by the Los Angeles Leadership Academy, based in the Koreatown area.Speakers reflected on the impact of the week’s activities and outlined to reporters the future of the campaign.
In Illinois the situation is somewhat different given that it was Senator Dick Durbin, who not only introduced the DREAM Act with Senator Orrin Hatch (Râ€“UT), but is also one of the bill’s most committed defenders.Separately, Senator Peter Fitzgerald (Râ€“IL) recently signed on as a bill sponsor.By comparison, the House version of the bill, the Student Adjustment Act, has five sponsors from Illinois to-date. Given this situation, immigrant rights organizations, leaders of faith, student groups, and KRCC organized the “Faith in Students” action day at Representative Henry Hyde’s office.Letters of community support were hand-delivered to his office and a follow-up action is being scheduled for January 2004.
KRCC also headed up a “DREAM Act Message” initiative with other Korean American organizations in the Chicago area.Throughout the week, calls were made to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (Dâ€“SD), calling for the bill’s introduction into the Senate floor.
YKASEC and the New York State Dream Act Task Force spearheaded the “Dialing for Dreams” action on November 20.Around 30 participants spent around 2 hours calling Senators Frist, Daschle, and Charles Schumer (D-NY) as well as key New York Representatives to support the two student legalization bills.The overwhelming number of calls that were made that day resulted in Senator Schumer contacting the task force and pledge to play a greater role in opposing the amendments and passing the bills.
That same Friday, YKASEC held an educational forum featuring immigration attorney, Andrew D. Park.Park provide an in-depth analysis of the two legislations while YKASEC’s Executive Director, Yu Soung Mun, presented the various ways that community members could participate in advocacy efforts. Following the presentations, individuals received one-on-one legal consultations.