The Council of Korean Americans is an advocacy group, which seeks to address the issues facing our community, as well as increase our representation at all levels of government. It’s a well-formed and impressive organization, and I applaud their efforts and hope for their continued success. However, their policy on immigration reform, which is essentially, amnesty, does raise serious concerns. This is their statement:
We hope the President’s actions will soon lead to reduced backlogs of family visas; more green cards for professional and technical workers; a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; and special attention to the needs of undocumented children.
We do not believe executive action is the ultimate solution. But we hope it will serve as a clarion call for bipartisan Congressional action that will fix our broken system once and for all.
Immigration reform will affect hundreds of thousands of Koreans living and working in America. We urge constructive efforts by our nation’s leaders to improve the lives of these and millions of other immigrant families and individuals by fully integrating them into our great country.The Council of Korean Americans supports immigration reform.
Amnesty rewards evasion of immigration laws. What if I decided not to pay my taxes, fill out all my forms, and submit my quarterly reports? There would be severe penalties, as well as the risk of having my assets seized. There are laws against fraudulent documentation and identity theft. We shouldn’t encourage or condone such unlawful behaviour. Many countries, including S. Korea, punish those that overstay their visas and break their immigration laws. Why shouldn’t we?
Green cards for “professional and technical workers” potentially harms American workers. There is no assurance that foreign workers would not replace, but only add to the labor market. For example, Abbott Labs and Disney employees lost their jobs to foreigners, some forced to train their replacements. I understand we have to be competitive in a global market. But if there’s policy to be made, I believe we should sell out as few American jobs as possible. Realize that this policy could eventually impact our communities. For example, a Korean-American IT worker could lose his or her job to a much less expensive, foreign worker. Also realize that many Korean-Americans own a business, whose success depends on a robust economy. Unemployment and depressed wages have a trickle-down impact on our lives, as well.
Specific and targeted assistance for the Korean community is more beneficial than amnesty. What are the factors that drive Koreans to bypass the legal means of coming to America? Is it financial or educational? We are better off, providing the resources and tools necessary for Koreans to become American citizens. If there are penalties to be paid, maybe we, as a community, could help with that. Millions of Koreans have come to America through the legal process. Amnesty is not particularly fair to those who endured many hardships and paid their dues for the prize and privilege of citizenship.
My Dad has spent his life serving the Korean community. He has pastored churches, taught English classes, and has been a tireless advocate for countless Korean immigrants on legal and health care matters. His service is marked by compassion, and he doesn’t question immigration status. However, if you pressed him on the matter, he would support the legal process towards citizenship. He would say, “We have to be exemplary citizens in this great Country called America.”