West L.A. United Methodist Church released the following statement.
UCLA Wesley Foundation students recently met with both the president and vice president urging immigration reform.
National Korean American Service and Education Consortium Director DJ Yoon fasted in D.C. for 22 days with Fast for Families (F4F) to bring attention to the need for immigration reform. During the fast, he met with Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Jesse Jackson and other national leaders.
West L.A. United Methodist Church supports immigration reform. The church was founded 84 years ago by Japanese immigrants and their offspring, and over the decades its members have witnessed historic and current injustices to immigrants and minorities.
Two of many reasons Christians are involved in immigration reform are their core beliefs of justice and family. Christians believe in a just God. When undocumented persons migrate to this country as the result of global economic conditions caused, in part, by trade agreements entered into by our government, then our country has a moral responsibility to welcome these migrants and provide them with some form of recognized status.
Second, Christians believe the sanctity of families. Under the current immigration system, families with undocumented members live under a cloud of fear knowing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials can break up a family at any moment.
Additionally, children born in this country to undocumented parents cannot adequately plan their futures, knowing their studies and work could be disrupted at any time. A broken immigration system destabilizes families.
Immigration reform is still high on President Obama’s agenda, and in January congressional Republicans released a memorandum detailing broad principles that would guide reform (politico.com). Speaker of the House John Boehner, however, seemingly opposed any debate by declaring that it will be “difficult to move any immigration legislation until the Republican Party changes its mind about the president’s character” (New Yorker blog, Feb. 6).
Clearly, immigration reform will only happen in 2014 with an immense amount of public dialogue forcing the issue. It is for this reason the UCLA students and Yoon are featured at a forum at West L.A. United Methodist Church entitled “Love Knows No Borders: A Dialogue on Immigration Reform and Faith.”
Featured panelists will share their experiences as immigrants and as an F4F participant. UCLA students include:
• Justino Mora, (fourth-year computer science), an activist who has met with the president and First Lady Michelle Obama, and is a national organizer for DREAM students and families;
• Liana Ghica, parent of a UCLA DREAM-eligible student;
• Yu-Hui (Amy) Lin, (fourth-year political science), an undocumented immigrant from Taiwan and a member of ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education), the first pan-Asian undocumented youth/young adult advocacy group.
• DJ Yoon, an immigrant and father with two children, to whom the immigration issue is very personal. He wrote:
“Many immigrant families made such extensive commitments and sacrifices to providing a better life for their families and children in the U.S. I’m very concerned about the current tone of the immigration debate because lawmakers are indicating that family immigration is not contributing to America and that we need to eliminate family immigration. My mother came to America because of her brother and she worked long, hard hours and years to support her family and the local economy.
“Also, as an Asian American, I understand the pain and injustice of being viewed as inferior in the U.S., a hardship that early immigrants from Asia experienced. Early Asian immigrants could not buy land, could not purchase a home, and were barred from becoming citizens just because of their race.
“In 2014, immigration reform must embrace aspiring new Americans as U.S. citizens. Our country can’t go back to that dark time and bring back segregation.”
Yoon will be joining a Fast for Families cross-country bus tour the next morning at the downtown Federal Building (Feb. 24 at 9 a.m.). Forum attendees are encouraged to support F4F 2014 immigration reform at the Monday rally.
Forum details: Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. at West L.A. United Methodist Church, 1913 Purdue Ave., Los Angeles; (310) 479-1379; www.wlaumc.org. Free and open to the public.