Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is a Los Angeles-based organization that also maintains a branch office in Washington, DC. Its affiliates are the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles and the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center in Chicago. NAKASEC is also a member of the massive Reform Immigration for America campaign, and the We Are America Alliance (WAAA). In addition, NAKASEC has close institutional ties with the Center for Community Change (CCC) and is a member of the Immigrant Organizing Committee, which governs the CCC’s Fair Immigration Reform Movement(FIRM).
NAKASEC’s mission is to offer “a national progressive voice on major civil rights and immigrant rights issues.” It does this through a number of programs:
The Immigrant Rights Project is NAKASEC’s most prominent grassroots organizing effort, dedicated to enlisting immigrant communities to fight for open borders. NAKASEC partners with FIRM, the National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, and the Rights Working Group to advocate for such ideals as:
“A path to legal permanent residency for hard-working immigrants and their children who are now forced to live and work in the shadows”
“Reform that reunites families by preserving the family preference categories, eliminating the immigration backlogs, stopping mandatory and indefinite detentions and cruel deportations for minor infractions”
“A plan to manage the future flow of migrant workers that is designed to prevent abuse and exploitation, and that allows those who grow roots here to eventually apply for permanent residency”
The Summer Youth Empowerment Program teaches students about “elections, student legalization, deportation, [and] health access.” Its goals are “to grow a new generation of community activists and to help individual participants develop a sense of belonging and identity as young ethnic minorities growing up in a multi-racial society.”
The Civil Rights Advocacy Program monitors “voting rights, language rights, and hate crimes.”
The Civic Engagement and Voter Empowerment Campaign was initiated in 1996 and partners with Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote and WAAA to register voters and to advocate on behalf of leftist causes.
NAKASEC’s Executive Director is EunSook Lee, a leading figure in the open-borders lobby. In 2007, the National Immigration Law Center honored Lee for her work for immigrant rights. In 2009, Lee called for the enactment of single-payer health care and argued that health care for immigrants was largely an issue of race:
“We forget that when people like [broadcaster] Lou Dobbs or Rep. Joe Wilson are enraged about ‘immigrants’ they are talking largely about communities of color. Americans know it is wrong to discriminate based on immutable characteristics such as sex or race—but convincing them to protect the act of being an immigrant remains a challenge that cuts across social justice issues such as health reform.”
On October 13, 2009, NAKASEC helped organize a rally in Los Angeles in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. Said EunSook Lee:
“Every day, a child wonders if she will ever see her parents again, and parents worry about whether they will make it home tonight. Ten percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are undocumented and thousands have waited for decades to be reunited with their loved ones. In detention centers across the country, countless others are languishing behind bars. Immigration reform is the solution.”
On March 21, 2010, Lee represented NAKASEC in the March for America in Washington DC, where she spoke before 200,000 people to demand immigration reform from Congress. Two days later, along with a coterie of fellow leftist activists, she met with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to enlist his support. NAKASEC’s immigration partner, Joshua Hoyt of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said: “Let’s be clear, one meeting is not enough. We expect the Republican Party to join the President as partners in the process of passing the comprehensive reform our country badly needs. The GOP is sadly mistaken if it believes it can cater to anti-immigrant tea party extremists by blocking immigration reform and then blame the Democrats. The fastest-growing voter demographic in this nation [Hispanics] is watching, and we intend to hold our leaders accountable.”
With the April 2010 passage of a controversial Arizona law (SB 1700) that authorized state police to inquire about the immigration status of criminal suspects, NAKASEC immediately denounced the legislation as racist and promised to fight it in court. EunSook Lee wrote:
“The bill is an unconstitutional and racist law that will have grave consequences for communities of color and immigrants. It has legalized racial profiling and will not improve the current immigration system but will worsen it by spreading terror and mistrust between community members and local enforcement. We are committed to working with advocacy and community organizations to challenge the law in court.”
Within days, NAKASEC sent buses of protestors from Los Angeles to Phoenix to join in local demonstrations against the bill. Then, on May 1, NAKASEC participated in immigration-reform rallies in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.