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Immigrant RightsPress ReleaseVirginia

New Americans Civic Engagement Alliance: Naturalize to Vote! Act Now!

By February 27, 2016 March 3rd, 2016 No Comments

New Americans Civic Engagement Alliance: Naturalize to Vote! Act Now!

With the upcoming March 1st Primary and the General 2016 Elections, Korean American organizations welcome New Americans to become citizens, vote, and act

Fairfax, VA- The Rising American Electorate is composed of women, people of color, immigrants, and millennials, who are already making their impact through their income earned, geographic location, and civic participation. In DC, Virginia, and Maryland, over 342,000 immigrants are eligible to naturalize, with 29% coming from Asian countries. With a critical upcoming election, Korean American organizations are mobilizing together for citizenship drives, voter registrations, civic engagement, and voter protection for 2016 elections to strengthen immigrant families and communities. The DC metro region has higher rates of naturalizations, with many community members eligible to naturalize. On February 27th, Asian American Homeownership Counseling, INC, Korean American Association of Washington Metropolitan Area, Korean American Society of Virginia, Korean American Women’s Society, Korean Society of Maryland, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, and Washington Spencerville Korean Seventh Day Adventist Church worked together in bringing 42 community members one step closer of becoming citizens and raising their voice through their vote. With Super Tuesday around the corner, community organizations are encouraging all immigrant voices to be heard loud and clear on March 1st.

“We are very excited to be part of the alliance to support various immigrant communities to strengthen their pathways to naturalization.  We believe more immigrant communities will join this New Americans integration initiatives and we applaud Korean American community organizations for leading the effort and embracing other communities,” said Marianne Brackney, President of Korean American Women’s Society.

“As the longest serving Korean American organization in the DC metro region since 1955, we are proud to join the efforts of welcoming New Americans. We understand the ongoing struggle of becoming a US citizen with many of our members. In order to continue our tradition of providing assistance to Korean Americans, our office doors are open to any community members who seek assistance. We will utilize our office for this mission every second Tuesday every month from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM,” said So Jung Lim, President of Korean American Association of Washington Metropolitan Area.

“We are proud in joining the leadership of many organizations in strengthening and growing our immigrant voices. Korean American Society of Virginia will continue our efforts on providing citizenship classes to all community members who are preparing for their citizenship exam. It is our duty to ensure that all immigrants who wish to express their voice, be able to do so in their fullest capacity, especially on March 1st for the primaries. We ask all immigrants to raise their voice and concerns next Tuesday,” said Michael Kim, President of Korean American Society of Virginia.

“Process times for naturalization can take up to 6 months. For green card holders, you have an opportunity to naturalize, register, and vote for 2016. There are several benefits in becoming a US citizen, not live in fear of deportation, federal benefits, travel, and increased job opportunities. For community members who are eligible, we ask them reach out to trusted organizations and immigration attorneys to ensure a strong application for success at the American Dream,” said Yun Jung Yang, Executive Vice President of Korean American Women’s Society.

“Asian American Homeownership Counseling has provided housing counseling and financial education to immigrant community members from all walks of life, ensuring their success for the American Dream. The application fees and associated fees make it difficult for immigrant families in becoming citizens together. We offer financial needs to off-set the prohibitive costs in welcoming New Americans and will work to ensure that all immigrant families are also strong financially,” said Song Hutchins, President  and CEO of Asian American Homeownership Counseling, Inc.

“Thank you for the opportunity to join the New Americans Civic Engagement Alliance to enrich our social services programs.  We provide social services including citizenship clinic on every first and third Sundays from 1 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. and we are overjoyed to work for our community members who desperately need our help and guidance,” said Reverend Young Hwa Yoon of the Washington-Spencerville Korean Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“For Virginia, March 1st is a critical primary for the 2016 elections. We encourage all community members to join the civic process to vote on March 1st. If you need assistance, please call our office 703-256-2208. With rising harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric rising, it is crucial to uplift immigrant voices by being resources for community members to sign-up for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals for young people, becoming naturalized to vote, registering to vote, civic participation, and being part of the movement for change,” said Dong Yoon Kim, Program Director of NAKASEC.

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New Americans Civic Engagement Alliance is a collaborative effort of Asian American Homeownership Counseling, INC, Korean American Association of Washington Metropolitan Area, Korean American Society of Virginia, Korean American Women, Korean Society of Maryland, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, and Washington Spencerville Korean Seventh Day Adventist Church focused on building a stronger immigrant community with citizenship drives, voter registrations, GOTV, and mobilizing community members for action.

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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).