Pictured above: NAKASEC youth volunteer, Max, phone banking to Korean American voters in Virginia
For the Nov. 4 midterm election, NAKASEC and our affiliates, KRC in Los Angeles and Orange County and KRCC in Chicago, led an exciting civic engagement campaign to get out the vote in the Korean American community. Through non-partisan voter education activities, staff and volunteers reached out to thousands of registered Korean American voters in California, Illinois, and Virginia, knocking on a total of 3,516 voter doors, phone banking to 36,504 voters, sending 48,845 direct mailings, and robocalling 76,133 voter homes. Our volunteers had conversations with 4,469 voters about the Nov. 4 elections.
Currently, over 4 million families have been separated from their loved ones and are caught in the immigration backlogs while over 11 million undocumented immigrants live as second-class citizens in the United States. NAKASEC, KRC, and KRCC asked community members where they stand on the President using his executive power to provide immediate relief to undocumented parents and adults and to reunite separated families by issuing more family visas. Among the 2,435 voters we spoke with, 71% of Korean American voters expressed their support for the President to take executive action on immigration. These findings align with the exit poll data collected by Asian American Decisions, which found that 60% of Asian American voters and 78% of Korean American voters support comprehensive immigration reform.
Over 150 Korean American voters participated in KRCC’s two early voting events in Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, in October and November. KRCC also hosted a candidates forum in Chicago with 11 Republican and Democratic candidates at the state and federal levels. With over 250 Korean American community members in attendance, audience members posed a series of questions to the political candidates on issues ranging from raising the minimum wage to their plans on immigration reform. The forum gave Korean American voters an opportunity to learn about the candidates’ positions on a wide range of issues in order to make more informed decisions on Election Day.
NAKASEC and our affiliates also engaged many young volunteers to lead voter engagement efforts. Max, one of NAKASEC’s youth volunteers from northern Virginia, said, “I wanted to get involved and help in this election even though I am still in high school and cannot vote yet. I came to the U.S. from Korea when I was five years old, and I am asking all community members to vote for me and all immigrant families. Every voter can make a difference.”
Seungbo, an 18-year-old Koreatown resident and KRC Campaign Fellow, came to KRC every day in the weeks leading up to November 4 to phone bank to hundreds of Korean American voters in Los Angeles. Seungbo stated, “We need to vote so that our elected leaders will listen to our voices, especially on issues like immigration. Because so many Korean Americans who come to the U.S. face extreme difficulty gaining legal status, there is no other issue as urgent as passing immigration reform.”
Though the elections are over, NAKASEC, KRC, and KRCC are proud to say that our community’s voices have gotten louder and stronger. In the months ahead of us, we will continue to fight to keep our families together. And with overwhelming support for administrative relief from our community members, we urge President Obama to keep his promise and deliver bold and inclusive administrative relief without delay for our immigrant families.
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, INC. (NAKASEC)
NAKASEC seeks to empower the Korean American community through education and advocacy. NAKASEC was founded in 1994 by five Korean American community organizations located across the U.S. Its program areas include education, civil rights and immigrant rights advocacy, civic participation, research, leadership, coalition-building and culture. NAKASEC programs focus on serving those with less resources and access, such as women, youth, seniors, low-income residents and recent immigrants.
7006 Evergreen Court, Suite 200
Annandale, VA 22003
t: (703) 256-2208
f: (703) 256-2558
KRC Orange County Office
6301 Beach Blvd., Suite 211
Buena Park, CA 90621
Korean American Resource &
Cultural Center (KRCC)
2701A W. Peterson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60659
t: (773) 506-9158
f: (773) 506-9159