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Indybay Feature
Fri Nov 27 2009
In Bicoastal Action, Immigrants Demand Room at the Healthcare Reform Table
Korean-Americans Take Part in Action for Immigrants in SF and at Joe Wilson's DC Office
As the traditional American Thanksgiving holiday drew near, immigrant rights groups held actions in San Francisco and Washington D.C. to expose the unjust treatment of immigrants in both congressional and senate healthcare bills.

“Hey hey, ho ho, the five year bar has go to go,” shouted Californians who came to demonstrate at Pelosi's San Francisco office from as far away as Los Angeles. In speeches, chants, and song, they urged Congress and the White House to repeal the five year waiting period for low-income legal immigrants to receive access to affordable health care. Korean-Americans made up the majority of participants and enlivened the event with traditional drumming and a circular march. They were joined by members of progressive Chinese and Spanish speaking communities.

At approximately the same hour in Washington D.C., a group of committed Asian Americans and Latinos confronted staff in the office of US Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina. Rep. Wilson has been a vocal opponent of government-subsidized health benefits to immigrants and is well-known for his outburst, "You lie!" during a speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress. When a member of the delegation said that the congressman's policies are based on racism, one of Wilson's staff members retorted with an outburst of his own, saying "That's not true!" and turning his back on the group.

Summarizing the sentiment of the demonstrators, EunSook Lee, Executive Director of NAKASEC, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, stated: “... immigrants continue to become the scapegoats and, if not corrected, this will result in a poisoning of the health care debate and the blocking of the real progress Americans need.” NAKASEC was the key organizer of this week's bicoastal actions.

Read More | photo Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
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