August 14, 2017

Korean American Immigration Network (KIN) Urges Continuation of DACA

New York, NY – Korean American community leaders gathered in Manhattan today to denounce the efforts to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to speak out against the many efforts by conservatives to exclude, limit and disadvantage immigrants. 
Since its implementation five years ago, DACA has opened paths to new lives for 800,000 Dreamers. This includes 18,000 young Korean Americans who have struggled growing up in the shadows of American society.  South Korean applicants comprised the highest number of applicants from all Asian countries, and sixth among all countries, according to USCIS. 
The member organizations of the Korean American Immigration Network join together in opposition to the effort to dismantle DACA, as well as the many anti-immigrant measures being promulgated by the Trump administration and other conservative, anti-immigrant forces. 
The Trump’s administration’s anti-immigrant policies go against an American tradition of welcoming immigrants - from a ban on immigrants from Muslim nations earlier this year to the RAISE Act, a Senate bill meant to drastically decrease legal immigration entering the country and raise roadblocks to those applying to immigrate. 
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal program begun in 2012, is also in danger of being dismantled. Attorneys generals of ten states have together announced that they will sue the Trump administration if DACA is not dismantled, with action expected by September 5th. As of today, the administration has yet to take a clear position on the continuation of DACA.  Meanwhile twenty attorneys general have taken the opposite position, urging the president to defend DACA. 
James Hong, Co-Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, stated: “It is truly shameful that neither Secretary Kelly nor the president has committed to continuing DACA, one of the most important federal immigration programs, and one that has benefitted both the Korean American community and our country in so many ways.  This program has not only kept families together, it has transformed the lives and opportunities of its recipients, as well as increased state and local tax revenues. 
We estimate that up to 1 in 8 Korean Americans are without status.  Eliminating this program would damage the fabric of the Korean immigrant community, given Korean Americans make up a disproportionately large part of DACA’s beneficiaries.  The president has a chance to show leadership in reason and in defending America’s immigrant families – he should defend and protect DACA, rejecting the demands of the ten attorneys general calling for DACA’s demise. 

New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim stated, “The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has enabled countless young adults to stay in the only place they have ever called home. The words and actions of this new administration have emboldened enforcement agencies to target families and vulnerable individuals, and places hundreds of thousands of Dreamers at risk. Children who grew up in our country, students with clean records and a bright future ahead of them, should not be the ones being prioritized for removal by ICE. I stand in solidarity with the Korean American community against any institutional changes that would endanger this program." 
Dong Chan Kim, President of Korean American Civic Empowerment, stated, “President Trump’s anti-immigrant policy causes many problems in our community. It makes our families broken apart. It makes innocent Dreamers, who are working hard for our economy, go back to under the shade of our society. People are labeled and classified by their immigration status, not by their ability and experience. This is not the society we wanted to see. We need to recognize that this country was built by immigrants and the immigrants are still making this country stronger and greater. We ask President Trump to stop anti-immigrant policy and start to discuss a comprehensive immigration reform to make our county a better place to live.” 
Linda Lee, Executive Director of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, stated, "On behalf of the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (KCS), I stand with my fellow community leaders in opposition to President Trump's plan to eliminate the protections of DACA recipients that the previous administration granted. There are many in our community, through no fault of their own, that have become undocumented for various reasons, but America is where they identify as their home. They have grown up here, have jobs went to school, contribute to society, but yet they live in fear of being deported to a country they barely know. We stand together and strongly ask this administration to keep the protections in place for DACA recipients." 
Katherine H. Kim, Executive Director of YWCA of Queens, stated, “Ending DACA means all of these young people would be at risk of deportation and separation from their families and our communities; this would be senselessly cruel. Ending DACA and removing hundreds of thousands of young men and women from our workforce also would cost the country an estimated $460.3 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over a decade and tens of billions more in lost contributions to Medicare and Social Security, and force businesses to incur $3.4 billion in turnover costs. 
We urge President Trump to sustain his commitment and preserve DACA. We also encourage President Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact legislation that replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers. The recently introduced stand-alone Dream Act of 2017 would do that and we support it.” 

Rev. Jin Uen Park, Executive Director of Wonkwang Community Service Center, stated, “DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program has provided many benefits families of undocumented young people. This program could help stabilize families, communities, and local economies across the country. The benefits would also run much deeper and wider if Congress were to pass comprehensive immigration reform.” 

For more information, contact: James Hong 718-460-5600 Ext. 305 / 

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