On January 23, Congressman Bill Pascrell and his wife, Elsie, visited the Korean American Voters’ Council to present his public work to the Korean community. Congressman Pascrell explained his activities and his current predicament with the redrawn district lines which placed him against Congressman Steve Rothman from his own party.




[Photo: Pascrell and the participants.]

Congressman Pascrell represented New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District which were comprised of Passaic County and parts of Bergen County. However, when district lines were redrawn in 2011, twenty four towns were placed into the same district and Congressman Rothman’s district was placed into District 5. Pascrell stated that the Democratic Party wants Rothman to go head to head with the incumbent, Congressman Scott Garrett [R-05]. But Rothman decided to run against Pascrell in the 8th District, citing that he cannot get elected in District 5. Pascrell urged Korean Americans to support Rothman in the 5th District to go up against Garrett, as Pascrell himself and Rothman both work hand in hand with the Korean community.



[Photo: Congressman Pascrell and his wife, Elsie.]
In response to the question asking what Congressman Pascrell did for the Korean American community and what his plans are, Pascrell responded that he joined the Asian Caucus as soon as he was elected into office in 1997. Also, he said that he is very close to Congressman Mike Honda, who in turn, is a familiar name in the Korean community.


Congressman Pascrell said that he understands the struggles of the immigrant society, and is working to prevent families from being separated. He added that he is a staunch supporter of the DREAM Act, which provisions undocumented student to gain legal status through education, work, or serving in the military. Although United States must defend its borders as a nation, if 12 million illegal immigrants were to be deported, Americans cannot make up the lost numbers, and that void will be filled by 12 million illegal immigrants from somewhere else. Congressman Pascrell pointed out the importance of immigration reform to benefit the people.

In regards to the US-Korea relations, Pascrell stated that maintaining good relations with Korea is one of the most important concerns that he has. He voted for Korea’s inclusion into the Visa Waiver Program and supported the Comfort Women Resolution (H.Res.121). As an important ally to the United States, Korea must keep close economically, politically, and in military relations. Pascrell is against the reduction of the US Forces in Korea and the relocation of troops to different nations.


[Photo: Board Chair Esther Lee, Congressman Pascrell, Elsie Pascrell]

Pascrell stated that he opposed the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement last year, explaining that although the agreement may foster better relations between the two countries, the process is full of problems. For example, if a Korean manufactured item, built with Chinese-made parts, is sold to the US without tariffs, US would suffer a loss. The provisions of the agreement are not beneficial to neither Koreans in Korea nor Korean Americans. He said he will work to amend it. This is how he’s helping the Korean American community.


Pascrell wants the two Koreas to reunite, and for that to happen, both the US and the Korean government must cooperate to make a way.


In response to allegations that federal aid funds for flooded areas in Bergen County were misused, Pascrell promised to look into the matter more deeply.



[Congressman Pascrell speaks to senior citizens.]


After visiting KAVC, Congressman Pascrell visited the Senior Citizens’ Association of New Jersey’s Lunar New Year Celebration. He stated that the government must be responsible for medicate, social benefits, housing, and other matters. He also promised to hep the Association in getting federal aid.


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