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Central Los Angeles

FIGHTING CUTBACKS: A coalition of Asian Pacific Islander advocate groups launched a campaign Thursday to defeat federal proposals limiting the immigration of legal immigrants’ family members and excluding most legal immigrants from receiving federal assistance.

Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Thai legal immigrants detailed how the legislation would affect their families during a news conference in Little Tokyo outside a museum display of a camp barracks used to imprison Japanese Americans during World War II.

Minn Chung, a Korean Resource Center board member, told the story of a man he identified only as “Mr. Sung,” a naturalized citizen from South Korea whose mother and brother depend on public assistance.

Chung said Sung’s brother, a legal immigrant, worked two jobs for 15 years to save money to open a store in South-Central Los Angeles, only to see it burned during the 1992 riots. Sung’s brother is still recovering mentally from the loss and his mother is disabled from a stroke. If their public aid were cut, the family would be financially devastated, Chung said.

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“Mr. Sung’s family has been working years while paying taxes and playing by the rules,” Chung said. “Congress has to know people like Mr. Sung’s family will suffer. These are the types of people the Congress will be preying on.”

Proposals before Congress would exclude most legal immigrants from receiving benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid. Another proposal would set an annual cap on the number of immigrants sponsored by family members legally in the United States, and would eliminate visa eligibility for sisters, brothers and adult children of U.S. citizens as well as children of immigrants who hold green cards.

Campaign organizers said they are launching a letter-writing campaign to key legislators, sending delegations to meet with legislators and will hold a Labor Day rally and march in Chinatown on Sept. 4.


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