By Ashley Duong
Protests organized by the Korean Resource Center (KRC) and student interns from UCI began on Oct. 2, encouraging representative Mimi Walters to vote in support of and co-sponsor a “clean” Dream Act bill. The on-campus protests will continue through Oct. 19.
KRC, a nonprofit organization with offices across the country, has roots in Korean immigrant rights and focuses on empowering communities including low-income, immigrant, Asian American and Pacific Islander and people of color in Southern California.
In recent years, it has broadened its activism and work to include an even larger and more diverse demographic.
Their protest on campus intends to advocate for and spread awareness and support for a “clean” Dream Act, one that does not include stipulations such as increased deportations or building a border wall.
At the recent news of the eventual termination Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival’s (DACA), which will affect about 800,000 DACA recipients as well as 11 million undocumented people, KRC is working with sister organizations across 10 campuses to pressure members of congress to support the new Dream Act to provide a more permanent solution to the issue of undocumented youth in America. They have decided to focus on UCI as a campus because of the university’s large population of DACA students.
J.J. Hsu, an intern for KRC and third-year computer science major, explained that while the organization understands “that [the bill] isn’t a fully-encompassing bill that would solve every immigration issue, [they] believe that it is a step towards one.”
With an average of 10 to 30 protest participants per day, KRC is also handing out pre-written postcards for students to send to their member of Congress, which encourages congressmen to support the bill.
The organization’s advocacy for the Dream Act started over the summer with a march from San Marco Park to Mimi Walters’s, including about 200 participants. KRC is also responsible for voter registration efforts on campus, intending to get as many students on campus registered in time for the midterm elections.
“We just want to spread awareness for the issue and hopefully make a change,” Hsu said of KRC’s advocacy efforts on campus.
Over the summer KRC also organized a 22-day sit-in in front of the White House in opposition of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly dubbed “Obama-care.” Along with various national non-profit organizations, the protest lasted 24 hours a day, in which members took shifts protesting.
Protests are scheduled to occur every week Monday through Thursday at the UCI flagpoles.