In February, the House of Representatives passed the REAL ID Act (H.R.418) in a 261-161 vote. The REAL ID Act has serious negative impacts on undocumented immigrants and citizens alike. The legislation includes provisions that would create a 3-tiered system for drivers licenses: states would be prohibited from issuing drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants; all drivers’ license applicants would undergo unnecessarily burdensome proof of identity standards; and temporary licenses will be issued to certain legal non-immigrants which would expire according to the validity period of one’s visa.Additional provisions would make it harder for those fleeing persecution to attain asylum in the US, curtail the rights of immigrants to have a fair trial and expands the definition of “terrorism” to include actions normally protected by the first amendment.
To address this threat, NAKASEC held coordinated press conferences with affiliates in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York to alert community members and launch a 3-day call-in action to urge the Senate to oppose the REAL ID Act.In total, 300 phone calls were made by Korean Americans to Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).Affiliate volunteers also made calls on behalf of Limited English Proficient Korean seniors who also wanted to voice their strong opposition.
Given that the bill has passed in the House, attention is focused more on the Senate. In the coming months, NAKASEC will continue to monitor the legislation and take grassroots actions when needed.