NAKASEC Joins SEARAC’s “Pro-Immigrant, Pro-America” Rally on Capitol Grounds
Washington, DC – On June 11, NAKASEC participated in the “Pro-Immigrant, Pro-America” community rally hosted by the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. NAKASEC was joined by 45 Southeast Asian American advocates from across the country and six national Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) ally organizations representing immigrant communities of color. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), made remarks in support of fair and humane immigration reform policies, along with Quyen Dinh from SEARAC; Jung Bin Cho, a DACA-mented Korean American in Virginia; Kham Moua from OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates; and Luis Torres from League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chair of CAPAC, said: “Anti-immigrant forces are trying to make immigrants afraid and unwelcome, but we know that a vibrant America and a welcoming America are both parts of the same goal. I am committed to fighting for President Obama’s immigration actions because I know that we are in the right both legally and morally. It is important that we encourage all who are eligible to sign up – especially AAPIs who are underrepresented in DACA enrollment. I am so appreciative of SEARAC for organizing this rally to help keep up support for a smart and compassionate immigration policy that contributes to our economy and keeps families together.”
Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC, said: “Now is a crucial time to demand humane and inclusive immigration reforms. As a community of immigrants and refugees, AAPIs stand with our immigrant allies to demand pro-immigrant leaders to recognize the economic and cultural contributions of not only Asian American immigrants, but all immigrants and refugees who have been enriching this country since its founding.”
Jung Bin Cho, DACA-mented student at Virginia Tech, shared what DACA means to him: “DACA has been providing young people like myself with work permits, social security numbers, and other benefits for three years now. And expanded DACA and DAPA could provide similar benefits to many more Asian Americans who would qualify for these programs. But the work doesn’t end with these programs. I urge community members to step up by talking to their legislators, registering to vote, and getting out the vote to send a clear and strong message to Congress that Asian Americans care deeply about immigrant rights.”
Nearly 1.2 million (11%) of the country’s undocumented immigrant population are Asian immigrants, and Asian Americans are more likely than any other group to wait in the visa backlogs for years or decades to be reunited with family. Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) are 3-5 times more likely than other immigrants to be deported because of old criminal convictions. Aggressive laws passed in the 1990s make it nearly impossible for immigration judges to consider the fact that many SEAAs came to the U.S. as refugee children, were raised in American schools, and may have spent years rebuilding their lives before they are deported.
The community needs immigration reform that is truly pro-immigrant and pro-America by putting families first.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) was founded in 1994 by local community centers to project a progressive voice and promote the full participation of Korean Americans on major social justice issues. NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia and Los Angeles, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (Korean American Resource & Cultural Center) and Los Angeles and Orange County (Korean Resource Center).