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On January 11th, 2013, Congressman Charles Rangel visited Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) to discuss policy priorities of the Korean American community with local leaders. This meeting was organized after KACE’s visit to Washington, DC on the opening of the 113th Congress. KACE delivered the policy priorities to various representatives including Congressman Rangel and thus received a request to discuss these priorities with leaders of the Korean American community. Congressman Rangel stressed that each citizen must share their thoughts, and gather together with people who share similar views to accomplish their goals.

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Congressman Rangel went through each and every one of the priorities listed. Starting with the DREAM Act, he stated he supports comprehensive immigration reform, and stated that it will become reality when everyone works together as a group. But in regards to the E-3 visa request for Koreans, Congressman Rangel had a negative viewpoint. His colleagues and workers in the United States are opposed to such an idea because unemployment rates are at an all time high and giving jobs to foreigners do not make sense. He understands that Koreans are interested in the E-3 visa category, but convincing others is the work for Korean American community leaders.

On the North Korean nuclear threat, Congressman Rangel stated that China is an obstacle that continues to leave North Korea alone to engage in threatening acts. As long as North Korea is suspicious of American intentions, peace talks are not getting anywhere. He urged North Korea to rethink its stance and China for its cooperation.

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In response to reuniting divided families in North Korea and the request for the United States’ support, Congressman Rangel reiterated that this is a very important issue. However, there is a long way to go in terms of how and when to make it happen, and this issue must be discussed further.

On the issue of Japan’s outright denial of crimes committed during World War II, especially the Comfort Women issue and the Kono Statement, Rangel strongly criticized the Japanese government. He stated that it is absolutely outrageous for the government to avoid admitting responsibility while their victims are confessing what had happened to them.

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Rangel openly stated his support for stricter gun control by the State and the Federal government. Although the agenda is encountering various obstacles on the Federal-level, gun control can be accomplished successfully if municipalities begin to enact their own measures one by one. He called upon religious leaders to speak for gun control just as they do with issues on gay marriage. He encouraged the community to speak out about their issues more often.

At conclusion, Rangel said that this is the first meeting that he had where he met members of the Korean American community to answer their concerns. He looks forward to working together with the community.

Categories: News
KOREAN AMERICAN CIVIC EMPOWERMENT
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