Guest Post by Rachel Pak
The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves immigrant women and girls seeking safety and justice. We amplify the voices of survivors in communities, courts, and Congress to create a world where women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.
I know this country was not always kind to you when you immigrated. Your parents brought you to America in the 1970s, seeking a better life from a developing South Korea. You entered a country that in the past has chosen to exclude Asian immigrants during moments of national panic, and then include at economically opportune times—from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to the incarceration of close to 120,000 Japanese descendants during World War II.
With legislation passed in 1965 and a need for skilled laborers, migration from Asia reopened, allowing you and my grandparents to move to the U.S. In a country that did not fully welcome you, with policies that historically excluded you, you worked hard to provide my sister and me a better future in America. I am immensely grateful for your sacrifices — however, I want us to pay attention to the current state of immigration policy in the U.S.
The racism in our laws hasn't gone away. It continues — it is vicious and is targeting migrants arriving at our southern border. Even more tragic, our government’s policies are stripping away the right to simply seek safety from people who are fleeing for their lives. I saw this first-hand when I was at the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez last December.