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Response to 2007 State of the Union

By February 21, 2007No Comments

P r e s s S t a t e m e n t

January 23, 2007 Contacts: EunSook Lee, NAKASEC 213. 453. 4378
For Immediate Release Dae Joong Yoon, KRC 323. 937. 3718
YuSoung Mun, YKASEC 718. 460. 5600
Becky Belcore, KRCC 773. 506. 9158

Immigration Features Prominently in President Bush’s Address
Korean American Encouragement Measured – A Long Road Ahead for the Passage of Truly Just
and Humane Immigration Reform

[Los Angeles, CA] Tonight, Korean Americans, as a part of the millions who to took to the streets in cities across this nation last spring to protest Un-American immigration proposals by Congress, tuned into President Bush’s State of the Union address. Korean Americans were encouraged that President Bush outlined a plan that included a legalization component that could potentially provide a path to citizenship for the already 12 million undocumented who are present in the country. Our encouragement is extremely tempered however by the harsh and punitive measures Bush is proposing.

EunSook Lee, executive director of NAKASEC stated: “Bush’s stated “middle ground” approach to legalization – between mass deportation and amnesty – in his blueprint for immigration reform demonstrates movement for the administration, but the devil is in the details. Along the border, in the worksite, and in neighborhoods, he misses with a proposal that could result in sweeping crackdowns against hard working immigrants. We can not advocate for justice that inflicts injustice on others. Parts of his plan will criminalize communities, divide families, and erode judicial review. Nevertheless, we also recognize this is Bush’s last chance to reform our nation’s immigration laws and as an immigrant community we will continue to work with all stakeholders to pass truly humane and just immigration reform that leaves no community behind.”

Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the Korean Resource Center (Los Angeles) said: “Tonight the American public, including Korean Americans wanted to assess if the Executive would not only signal the political will on reforming the nation’s failed immigration system in the 110th Congress but also to see if President Bush offered smart, effective, just, comprehensive immigration reforms that America is hungry for. Parts of his package are disappointingly flawed. His speech left no mention of eliminating the backlogs. And, expanding the ability for state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law will have a chilling effect on our community.”

Becky Belcore, executive director of the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center (Chicago) said: “Although we recognize it’s a new day in Congress, our work around comprehensive immigration reform will be an uphill battle. We have seen the visceral and toxic politicking last year around immigration that led to the introduction of negative legislation. All of this activity happened on the heels of the historic marches of the Spring of 2006. Our job is to continue to educate our community as immigration reform is a forever changing process. Incumbent and new members must emerge with the courage, honesty, and commitment to America to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Yu Soung Mun, executive director of the YKASEC – Empowering the Korean American Community (New York) added: “Bush’s inclusion of Immigration in his address tonight signals not only that the issue is a top Executive legislative priority but a testament of how the midterm elections were a rude awakening for our elected leaders. Comprehensive Immigration Reform is long overdue and immigrant communities will exercise their electoral muscle if left unfulfilled. Deep community organizing and education will continue to empower our communities.”