One out of every seven Asian Americans are undocumented immigrants in the United States. Woori Center believes that advocating for our most vulnerable community members is the first step toward building a society where everyone thrives together. Everyone deserves to be treated according to our humanity and not fear being separated from their loved ones. We believe in the power of community organizing. When we empower and organize our communities, we can win and make change!
In 2021, Woori Center is focusing its community organizing work on three campaigns for immigration justice. On a national level, Woori Center joins NAKASEC National, NAKASEC VA, Hana Center, and MinKwon Center for our Citizenship for All: 100 Days Campaign. Within Pennsylvania, Woori Center advocates for legislative changes, such as driver’s licenses for all and tuition equity, alongside local immigrant rights organizations.
Citizenship for All
The NAKASEC Network believes that all people deserve full citizenship. Citizenship means more than a piece of paper; full citizenship means having full equality; access to all of the rights and responsibilities of being American, which includes the human rights to quality food, housing, education, health care, jobs, communications, transportation and participating in our democracy. Our Citizenship For All platform supports the following components:
- Pathway to Citizenship For All: Every immigrant, from the undocumented to TPS holders to lawful permanent residents, deserves U.S. citizenship for full participation in this country. We demand legalization of all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country, without exception.
- Family Reunification: Strong families are a cornerstone of the U.S., and are critical to the social and economic health of this nation. Family immigration, strengthened by the Reuniting Families Act, must continue to allow them to remain together and have the opportunity to reunify in a timely manner.
- Citizenship For All Adoptees: Despite being adopted by U.S. citizen parents as children, thousands of intercountry adoptees do not have citizenship. All adoptees, regardless of background, deserve citizenship. We support a clean and inclusive Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019.
- Abolish ICE/CBP: Detentions and deportations tear families apart and contribute to our communities’ trauma in ways that hurt us all. Furthermore, every year, the number of individuals detained rises. Looking back over the past twenty years, the number of individuals locked in immigration detention centers skyrocketed by over 600%. We demand the abolition of ICE and CBP, and a moratorium on deportation through executive action. We also support defunding the police!
- LGBT Equality Act: It is still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans in 29 states. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
Driver’s Licenses for All: Driving PA Forward (DPF) Coalition
A lack of driver’s license restricts people’s ability to accomplish basic daily tasks like going to work, going to the grocery store, dropping their kids off at school, or fully participating in civic and community life. To protect the basic human right to movement of our community members and expand access to driver’s license to all Pennsylvanians regardless of one’s immigration status, Woori Center joined the Driving Pennsylvania Forward Coalition in 2020. With the proposed legislation, Pennsylvanians would receive safety and accountability, insurance savings, economic participation, and basic human rights.
Driving Pennsylvania Forward is a statewide coalition composed of advocacy, faith, businesses, farmers, labor and community organizations that work together in support of passage of legislation regarding accessibility of a standard driver’s license with strict privacy and data protections for all Pennsylvanians regardless of immigration status. Both Woori Center and the Driving Pennsylvania Forward Coalition prioritize the leadership of the immigrant community, and welcomes everyone who believes in the importance of changing what is politically possible for the immigrant community through grassroots and legislative efforts.
Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign
The Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign believes that all graduates of Pennsylvania high schools should have equal opportunity to attend college, regardless of immigration status. Allowing all immigrant students equal access to higher education is likely to help address the falling enrollment at Pennsylvania State schools, community colleges, and private schools.
Woori Center joined the Tuition Equity and Inclusion Campaign in 2020 to ensure that all of our community members have access to a higher education. With the proposed legislation, all students who graduate from a Pennsylvania high school or attend two years of high school in Pennsylvania and receive the equivalent of a diploma are eligible to receive in-state tuition rates at community colleges, members of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and private universities that receive state funds and Pennsylvania extends its state-funded financial aid to all financially eligible students and provide an alternative FAFSA application process.
In the long term, Tuition Equity and Inclusion would increase revenue for public institutions of higher education, be beneficial for state economies in the long-term, encourage population growth and reduce brain drain of young people, and help both students and their families contribute to Pennsylvania’s economy.
Know Your Rights Workshop
Woori Center hosts Know Your Rights Workshops throughout the year. The workshops provide information on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) trends; basic rights for immigrant communities dealing with law enforcement, ICE, jails and courts; and preparing emergency plans.
Please check back for our next Know Your Rights Workshop. You can find additional information on Woori Center’s social media pages (@WooriCenter).
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