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On Friday, August 28th 2015, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), Korean Community Services for Metropolitan New York (KCS), and Korean American Association of Queens (KAAQ) held a joint press conference condemned Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush for his recent remarks on Asian immigrants and “anchor babies.” The press conference was attended by New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, and New York City Council Member Peter Koo. The participating organizations released a statement demanding Bush for an official apology.

Senator Stavisky expressed her discomfort in Bush’s statement, saying that the bigoted outlook on immigrants shared by Bush and other Republican candidates could serve as a hindrance to reaching a comprehensive immigration reform. Assemblyman Kim stated that Bush’s statement discredits everything that the Asian community has contributed to the development of the United States, and perpetuates the pre-existing stereotype of Asians as “aliens” in our society. Councilman Koo expressed his concern at what seems to be the recent trend among contenders for the 2016 presidential election, which is to marginalize the immigrant community to propel their self-interests. He demanded that “all presidential candidates […] immediately end the anti-immigrant one-upmanship,” and “campaign on ways they can bring our country together across ethnicities as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The official statement released at the press conference is as follows:

We, the Asian American community organizations of New York, condemn the recent derogatory remark made by the Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush against Asian Americans.

As a candidate seeking a position of leadership to verbally single out and denounce a specific group for his personal interests is a despicable conduct that makes us question his qualifications as a leader. It is alarming to imagine the kind of policies he would enforce as a president when his current remarks already reflect deprecatory sentiments toward Asian Americans.

United States was built upon the principles of liberty, equality, and human rights for all. This proud nation of ours has been a nation of immigrants and always will be. Every American is a descendant of an immigrant in one way or another; it is simply a matter of when they arrived.

There is no doubt that the current immigration policy needs a change. We have worked tirelessly over the past several years to reach a comprehensive immigration reform that could uphold the precious value of “family,” but our efforts have been in vain. While the 2016 presidential election must serve as the platform to address the issue of immigration in a clear and rational manner, Mr. Bush’s comments only hinder our efforts to move forward.

We will not tolerate Mr. Bush’s attempt to divide our society by turning us against one another. We would like to remind Mr. Bush that the candidate who earned the support of the Asian American voters won the 2012 presidential election. And the Asian American votes will be a deciding factor for the 2016 presidential election as well. If Mr. Bush believes that marginalizing the Asian American community will earn him the Latino votes, he is gravely mistaken; the immigrant community will not be divided under any circumstances.

We demand presidential candidate Mr. Bush to issue a formal apology about his statement immediately.

Signed by

Korean American Association of Greater New York,

Korean American Association of Queens,

Korean American Civic Empowerment,

Korean American Senior Citizen Voters Federation of New York,

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York.

 

 

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