Fixing the US’ broken immigration system has emerged as a burning topic. And recent legislation has opened the doors for a more thorough and substantial discussion on the issue in Congress.On May 12, 2005, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, a bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate and House. Many immigrants including Korean Americans would benefit from comprehensive immigration reform which includes legalization, family reunification, and worker protections.While specifics of the comprehensive immigration reform bills still need to be analyzed thoroughly, all our communities have a stake in this debate. NAKASEC affiliates, KRC, KRCC, and YKASEC will join a nationwide effort to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality for immigrants living in the U.S. today and for those in the future.
On June 3, NAKASEC and KRC as a part of the Southern California Comprehensive Immigration Reform Working Group, a collection of immigrant, labor, and faith groups, for a press conference on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. Community members spoke on the principles of comprehensive immigration reform.A Korean senior leader, Moo Sung Park, highlighted the visa backlogs and the need for family unification. NAKASEC executive director EunSook Lee reported on the coming activities of the Working Group such as a series of roundtables and legislative advocacy.
On May 16, KRCC and Chicago’s immigrant community gathered to discuss the intricacies of this complex bill. The bill’s originating sponsor in the House, Rep. Gutierrez, was in attendance to field questions about the bill from community members. In conjunction with the immigrant community of greater Chicago, KRCC committed to generating 501 calls from the Korean community urging Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama to support immigration reform.
Following the introduction of the bill, YKASEC in New York held a press conference on May 18 to critically analyze the bill and to introduce YKASEC’s future plans. YKASEC will be organizing a coalition of Korean American organizations in New York to unfold a campaign for comprehensive immigration reform which will include advocacy and petition drives.